Scottish Premiership: Five things we learned at the weekend

Rangers manager Mark Warburton
Warburton has picked up just two points from two matches against bottom club Ross County

Rob Maclean continues his weekly assessment of the main talking points from the weekend's action.

Draws dent Rangers' progression plans

It's been an underwhelming start to the season from Rangers.

They've won only five of their first 12 Premiership matches and none of those victories have come against teams who'll finish anywhere near the top of the league table.

Mark Warburton's team have beaten Dundee, Motherwell, Partick Thistle, Inverness and Kilmarnock but lost to top two Celtic and Aberdeen and dropped points, as they will see it, against Killie, Hamilton, St Johnstone and Ross County twice.

Stars of their Championship-winning team like James Tavernier and Martyn Waghorn have failed so far to transfer last season's form to the big league and highly-paid pair Niko Kranjcar and Joey Barton have been counted out by long-term injury and a club ban.

There's plenty of time for Rangers to make an impact but, for a team with the second-biggest budget in Scottish football, they've hardly set the heather alight in the first few months of the campaign.

Staggies can strengthen mid-season

Ross County held Rangers to a 1-1 draw on Sunday
County can take heart from their performance on Sunday

The international break has probably come at the wrong time for Ross County who showed a few flickers of revival in their second draw of the season with Rangers.

It was a match they could have won or lost but there were enough encouraging signs in that 1-1 result for manager Jim McIntyre to prefer another game on the way this coming weekend rather than waiting a fortnight for their next burst of action.

Yes, I know the Dingwall team are still bottom of the Premiership and 10 games without a win but I think they're better than quite a few sides above them in the Premiership.

Former Rangers winger Chris Burke produced a quality performance against his old team and the reunion of Liam Boyce and Craig Curran in attack will, sooner rather than later, get County back among the goals.

And, unlike some of their rivals in the bottom half of the league table, they'll have some spending power when the January transfer window opens.

Wighton is right on target for Dundee

Craig Wighton and Marcus Haber
Can Wighton and Haber form a fruitful partnership for Dundee?

One of the Premiership stars of the weekend has to be 19-year-old Dundee striker Craig Wighton.

The local-lad-made-good looked unplayable at times in the 2-0 home win against Motherwell, had a big hand in both goals and was unlucky not to score himself.

The teenager has started Dundee's last three matches and they've won two of them to get themselves off the bottom of the league and within two points of the top six.

He made his debut for the Dark Blues when he was only 16, was loaned out to Brechin and Raith Rovers to get more game time and now looks ready for a prolonged run in Paul Hartley's starting XI.

Wighton's an exciting talent and his partnership with recent signing Marcus Haber looks promising for rejuvenated Dundee.

Glaring gaffes

Dundee goalkeeper David Mitchell appeared to carry the ball over the line at Dens Park
Dundee goalkeeper David Mitchell appeared to carry the ball over the line at Dens Park

I wrote, almost amusingly, in pre-season that I hoped refereeing decisions occupied fewer 'Collum inches' of match coverage this season.

And I think Willie Collum and his colleagues have, in the main, kept a lower profile for the last few months and featured a little less in Sunday night episodes of 'Trial by Sportscene'.

But our match officials were back with a bang this past weekend, making some blatantly wrong rulings. And it's not just the whistlers. It's a team of four who have to share the responsibility.

For me, there were three standout dodgy decisions.

  • A clear goal not given at Dens Park when Dundee keeper David Mitchell carried the ball over his line.
  • Equally obvious was Rangers goalie Wes Foderingham handling a back-pass from James Tavernier in Dingwall.
  • And offside Steven MacLean was in the eyeline of Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton as he stepped out of the way of Chris Kane's goal for St Johnstone at Tynecastle.

We won't be utilising video technology anytime soon but, in those three instances, four pairs of eyes should have been more than enough.

Stockley's stock is rising

Jayden Stockley scored a great goal in Aberdeen's 2-1 win at Firhill
Stockley's fourth goal of the season was a fantastic strike

Lanky Jayden Stockley chose Friday night at Firhill to show us he's more than just a big target man.

His winner for Aberdeen against Partick Thistle was simply sublime. He was involved in the build-up and finished it off by flighting a sumptuous 25-yarder over Thorsten Stuckmann to seal a 2-1 victory.

If you're being picky, you might say the German goalkeeper charging off his line a little too early made up Stockley's mind for him but it was still a top-drawer finish.

The former Bournemouth front man has been a bit-part player for Aberdeen so far this season with Adam Rooney a stick-on for the main striking position.

But Stockley's latest showing, alongside Rooney, has given manager Derek McInnes another option.

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