Scottish football: Rob Maclean on Rangers, Callum Paterson, Tony Andreu

Rangers celebrate Lee Hodson's goal against Aberdeen
Rangers celebrate Lee Hodson's goal against Aberdeen

BBC Scotland football commentator Rob Maclean looks at the key themes to emerge from the weekend's football.

Right Rangers reaction

Maybe Rangers should be 'irked' by criticism more often if that's the dramatic effect it has on their performance.

Beating Aberdeen at Ibrox on Saturday was their biggest result of the season so far and at the opposite end of the scale from what they showed at Tynecastle three nights before.

It might have been a different outcome had Jayden Stockley not missed a sitter but Rangers took their chances to grab a hold of second place in the Premiership.

Reaction to their midweek display against Hearts should not have been a surprise to anyone. It was a flat performance in Gorgie and deserved all the flak it got.

If Rangers were in the huff at the slating they took, it certainly worked wonders at the weekend.

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Highlights: Rangers 2-1 Aberdeen

Paterson to be prized away?

Hearts fans, already coming to terms with a change of head coach, will soon have to contemplate life without free-scoring full-back Callum Paterson as well.

They would love to think Callum would be on board until his contract is up at the end of the season but English interest is growing and there must be every chance of an offer the club cannot refuse during next month's transfer window.

Only just turned 22, the powerful Paterson is first choice right-back for Scotland even though he would be first to admit he is still learning the art of defending.

It is on the attack that he does his best work and the goal he scored in the 2-2 draw with Ross County in Dingwall at the weekend was an incredible eighth of the season so far.

Callum's a personality player, he is a big presence in the Hearts team and he'll be a big miss when he goes.

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Highlights: Ross County 2-2 Hearts

Eyes on Championship title race

This season's fight for automatic promotion to the Scottish Premiership looks like it could go the distance.

Dundee United's defeat of Hibernian at Tannadice on Friday night, which drew them level on points with their Championship title rivals, has to give them a big psychological boost.

I think lots of so-called experts had Neil Lennon's team running away with it. For them, a dramatic rethink is required.

Neil Lennon's Hibernian are level on 31 points with Dundee United at the top of the Championship
Neil Lennon's Hibernian are level on 31 points with Dundee United at the top of the Championship

The Ray McKinnon rebuild at United has had a much quicker impact than could reasonably have been expected. Their unbeaten run is eleven games and counting.

In total contrast to the league above, this is a title race which promises to go down to the wire.

Andreu an asset

I must say I really enjoyed the game at Tannadice on Friday and saw one big reason for the Dundee United fans to believe their tangerine dream of an instant return to Scottish football's top tier could well come true.

Two words. Tony Andreu. The Frenchman left Hamilton for Norwich in a million-pound deal.

United's capture of Andreu on a season-long loan is an inspired bit of business. His penalty winner against Hibs was his ninth goal already for the club.

Tony Andreu's penalty proved to be decisive in Dundee United's win against Hibernian
Tony Andreu's penalty proved to be decisive in Dundee United's win against Hibernian

But it's not just goals he has brought to United. He has dropped down a level to be playing in the Scottish Championship and, not surprisingly, his class and quality stand out.

It was an eyebrow-raiser of a move when it happened and it could end up tipping the title balance in United's favour.

Fraser vindicated

Ryan Fraser took some stick when he quit Aberdeen as an 18-year-old after little more than flirting with first-team football.

Nearly four years on he might have the perfect answer for those critics who reckoned he was too young to quit the Scottish game.

The little winger is starting to make a big impression in top flight English football. Ryan was the star of the show in Bournemouth's amazing comeback against Liverpool on Sunday.

Ryan Fraser was instrumental in Bournemouth's 4-3 win against Liverpool on Sunday
Ryan Fraser was instrumental in Bournemouth's 4-3 win against Liverpool on Sunday

They were 2-0 and 3-1 down but eventually came out on top in a seven-goal thriller. Five foot four Fraser, who only played the last 35 minutes, scored a goal and had a hand in two others in one of the most remarkable turnarounds of the English Premier League season so far.

Already a Scotland Under-21 international, Ryan could soon be banging on the door for a call-up to the senior squad if he keeps up that level of form.

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