THE changes were subtle rather than significant. A major overhaul wasn’t required to get the outcome that Pedro Caixinha wanted.
The Rangers boss has neither the time nor the personnel to rip it up and start again at Ibrox. He is building on old foundations, but with a new blueprint.
After seeing his side emerge from Parkhead with a deserved point to their credit, Caixinha ensured his first match in the dugout culminated with the collection of all three.
Goals from Emerson Hyndman and Clint Hill before the break clinched the win against Hamilton, before Martyn Waghorn’s penalty and a Lee Wallace strike added a much-merited shine to the score line.
The margin of victory could have been greater for Rangers, but it was job done. For Caixinha, it was a solid start to life in Light Blue.
He was given a warm reception by the Ibrox crowd and then saw his side deliver a commanding display. The tactical switches, tempo of their play and attacking intent left supporters satisfied.
But former Ibrox striker John MacDonald hopes the encouraging early signs offer a glimpse of what could come between now and the end of the season.
He said: “I thought they played well. The manager changed the formation and it worked well.
“The defence looked solid and it looks like since Mark Warburton has left that (James) Tavernier and Waghorn have a new lease of life. I thought they were terrific but every one of them put in a shift.
“It was pleasing to watch and hopefully that bodes well for the future.
“You could see that they were trying to get the ball forward quickly and get the support up there in numbers.
“Once they got up there, they were playing some neat stuff in and around the box. The first and fourth goals were tremendous with the way they worked them.
“They were doing a lot of pressing and they were putting Accies under pressure. It was a good start and hopefully we will get better as the games go on.”
After struggling to break down teams for most of the campaign as performance levels have fluctuated and points have been squandered, Saturday was the kind of outing that the Ibrox crowd have expected to see on many more occasions this term.
It was a dominant performance from Rangers as they moved the ball with precision and piled forward to leave Martin Canning’s side camped deep inside their own half.
The partnership between Waghorn and Miller once again worked well, while Hyndman, Barrie McKay and Jason Holt all showed their forward intentions.
MacDonald said: “Waghorn is more effective through the middle with his pace and his strength. He can go either side, he can go in behind and having Kenny there can only help him.
“It was noticeable that they were whipping the ball into the box rather than waiting for gaps and trying to walk it in.
“Hopefully the goals can come from different areas because it looks like there will be more players getting forward and into the box.
“Hyndman will have a big part to play because he looks a player. He is a classy midfielder, comfortable on the ball and he can score goals.
“You will rely on your strikers more often than not but it is important to have players from other areas chipping in as well.”
Caixinha may only have had a few days to work with his squad before he made his dugout debut but his efforts at Auchenhowie paid dividends at Ibrox.
Too often this term Rangers have been laboured in their approach and their play was predictable as fans became increasingly disillusioned with Warburton.
On Saturday, Caixinha urged his side to ‘play like children’, to enjoy their time on the park and make the most of the chance to perform in front of a 49,000-strong crowd.
Nobody in Light Blue will get carried away with an opening victory, but MacDonald reckons it would have done the Gers squad the world of good to get off and running on Caixinha’s watch.
He said: “I think a few of the boys were frustrated with the way that we played under the former manager.
“It was great when we were in the Championship and not playing against as teams of the same quality but teams in the Premiership are quicker, fitter and stronger.
“I don’t think they are all bad players, but they have got bad results. It is down to confidence and now the new manager has come in.
“He can put some confidence back in them and they will go out and perform for him. They are all working for him so hopefully the wins keep coming.
“Accies have had a poor run recently so Rangers were expected to beat them but you have still got to go out there and do it. They were expected to beat other teams in the bottom six earlier in the season and weren’t able to do it.
“It is a pity that we have got the international break because it would have been good to keep the momentum going.
“The manager is going to organise a game against the Under-20s and that will help him get his message across and it will be interesting to see how they play against Motherwell.”