More Rangers woe, Barton, Doolan, Lennon and Ayr: Rob Maclean's five things

Rob Maclean continues his series assessing the main talking points from the weekend's Scottish football action.

Rangers need to pick up the pace

Rangers will have to crack on with their search for a new football department.

They might have wanted to take their time to ensure they made the right decision but, on the evidence of Sunday's defeat by Dundee, they don't have that luxury.

The season could unravel for Rangers if they're not careful. Aberdeen are taking an increasingly strong grip of second place in the Premiership and might already be uncatchable.

Hearts and St Johnstone could be ready to fight it out for third spot and suddenly European qualification would be no shoe-in for Rangers.

There wasn't enough passion in their play against Dundee and too much acceptance of their first defeat at Dens in 25 years. Rangers have to be better than that.

Barton embarrassment

At least Rangers got rid of Joey Barton, who turned Saturday night's Match of the Day into an episode of Men Behaving Badly.

Although the fact remains that they should never have wasted their money on him in the first place.

Joey Barton's Rangers stay ended after he fell out with then-manager Mark Warburton following the 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park.
Joey Barton's Rangers stay ended after he fell out with Mark Warburton following the 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park.

The Rangers hierarchy must still be embarrassed about that inexplicable bit of business. Just as Barton should cringe at his panto performance for Burnley in their FA Cup exit at the hands of non-league Lincoln.

He dropped to the ground holding his head after the faintest of contact with the outstretched arm of Lincoln striker Matt Rhead.

It was as convincing as his displays in a Rangers shirt.

Doolan is heaven cent for Jags

Kris Doolan is now only three away from a century of Partick Thistle goals. Forty five minutes was all the 30-year-old substitute needed on Saturday to net two headers against Hamilton at Firhill and hoist the Jags back into the Premiership top six.

Nearly a third of his 300-plus appearances for Thistle have come from the bench - which makes his goals per starts ratio mighty impressive - but Doolan tends to score rather than sulk.

A pair of clever headers in the second half won three precious points against Accies after a highlights-free, and Doolan-free, first 45.

The former Auchinleck Talbot striker's goals will keep top flight football at Firhill.

Lennon reaction so revealing

If you were ever in any doubt about how much Neil Lennon wants to lead Hibs back to the top tier of Scottish football, you only had to listen to his after-match rant on Saturday.

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon was livid with his team on Saturday as they drew 1-1 at Raith Rovers
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon was livid with his team on Saturday as they drew 1-1 at Raith Rovers

It wasn't just what he said but how he said it after his team blew their chance of opening up a nine-point gap at the top of the Championship.

Lennon said his players were a disgrace for the first hour of their 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy. I'd love to have heard the dressing room version of his post-game comments.

He knows he's in the process of kick-starting his own management career as well as taking Hibs back to where they reckon they belong.

Ayr of belief about them

Ayr United's Championship survival hopes must have taken a big boost from their unbeaten February so far.

They kicked off the month by drawing with leaders Hibs at Easter Road, then reached the Scottish Cup quarter finals with the last ditch extra-time defeat of Clyde in a replay at Broadwood.

Ian McCall's Ayr United side have shown signs they have a real chance of avoiding relegation from the Championship
Ian McCall's Ayr United side have shown signs they have a real chance of avoiding relegation from the Championship

On Saturday, Ian McCall's team were a red-carded player short and two goals down at Dumbarton after 90 minutes had come and gone.

To rescue a point under those circumstances, scoring twice in stoppage time, was almost unbelievable.

There's still work to be done for Ayr to avoid relegation but to show that sort of staying power must do wonders for belief.

Top Stories