Things are looking better, but there are still issues
Alright, we might as well get the big one out of the way. Yes, we called for Mark Warburton to go after the Tynecastle debacle. We said we weren't improving, and things weren't looking likely to get any better. We said we had a big transfer window coming up and didn't trust him with King's weans' inheritance. And we said that he did not recognise any of this, and wasn't likely to change.
Here's the thing - despite that, we also weren't very surprised to beat Hearts and Aberdeen. They're not very good, and Rangers have been excellent at home. In many ways, tonight was a bigger test, and it's one they've passed, for now.
It wasn't a perfect performance. We were still wasteful, and we still gave a daft goal away. It was very near to being the comfortable away win that we needed, but not quite there. Yes, Hamilton only scored through a daft mistake, but we regularly make daft mistakes. Yes, Hamilton can be a tough side - they beat Celtic last season, fought them hard in their last game, and Aberdeen and Hearts have not won there. But they were also pretty exhausted, and playing on the Friday is a harsh schedule for them.
So, in other words - yes, this is a step in the right direction, and things are looking far better than they were. But we're not out of the woods yet. This form needs to go on a while longer. But at the very least, it's given Warburton some breathing room.
Warburton got the selection right
Warburton only made one change, but he had several calls to make. He started Martyn Waghorn in attack and dropped Kenny Miller - correct decision. He kept Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan in defence instead of bringing Clint Hill back in - correct decision. And he also kept James Tavernier in midfield, which was fine, since the alternatives were few. In short, he basically nailed it, and hit the balance between mixing things up and going totally mental.
A big part of our success over the past three games has been a better use of the squad. We could still do with another shape to use at certain times, but we're not complaining right now.
Andy Halliday can't go on like this
Andy Halliday is, at best, a box-to-box midfielder. Asking him to fulfil any position where some semblance of discipline, awareness and positioning is required is simply not going to work. Jordan Rossiter can fulfil the role a lot better, but of course he's still crocked. So, what to do?
Even if upon his return we determine that he has legs of titanium and will never be injured again, it's probably worth looking at another option here in the summer. The midfield, which looked like our strongest area of the team last year and had a frankly ludicrous number of additions in summer, still looks broken. Too many Crooks have spoiled the broth. A defensive midfielder should be looked at - perhaps Diego Poyet - and we could probably do with an alternative to Holt, as well. The really annoying thing is that we shouldn't need either of these, and the decision to move will have to depend on the fitness of Windass or Rossiter so as not to leave the squad more bloated than it already is. Getting that right will be difficult.