IT could be the turning point or another false dawn, the first stride on the road to recovery or a step towards what ultimately turns out to be a dead end for Pedro Caixinha.

Only time will tell how significant the win over Hamilton on Friday evening was for Rangers and their manager. It was certainly a welcome one, though.

After dressing room inquests and talk of discontent in the camp, of goldfish bowls and Las Vegas, Caixinha was able to focus on the job in hand for 90 minutes at the SuperSeal Stadium.

And it is what happens on the park that will ultimately determine whether the Portuguese’s caravan keeps on rolling on or his stint in the Rangers circus is a short-lived one.

The aftermath of an Old Firm defeat is always a torrid time for whatever manager happens to be on the wrong end of the result on derby day.

It is an experience that Caixinha has now lived through on three occasions but a scenario that he doesn’t have to even ponder the possibility of for a couple of months.

His natural reaction was to come out fighting but he needed his players to start landing blows of their own after suffering a barrage of criticism in recent weeks.

In that regard, the Gers boss got what he was looking for against Accies. Many felt Rangers proved a point, but it was the three earned that were of paramount importance.

The nightmare scenario was staring Caixinha in the face inside the opening minute as Danny Redmond handed Hamilton a shock lead but when Rangers got up to speed they eased away from Accies and towards the winning line.

It wasn’t a completely polished performance but there were encouraging signs as Declan John scored his first two goals from left-back and Graham Dorrans, who once again skippered the side, raised his levels after a handful of below par showings.

The issue over Dorrans’ decision to hand the armband to Kenny Miller when he was introduced against Celtic was one of the topics of debate in the team meeting at Auchenhowie last week.

It was a situation that Caixinha addressed by saying that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

But the decision to leave Miller out of the squad on Friday night was still a gamble by the Portuguese. It paid off on this occasion, and only Caixinha can calculate the risk and the reward going forward.

Supporters have already started to draw parallels with the infamous bust-up between Paul Le Guen and Barry Ferguson that lead to the Frenchman leaving Ibrox after just a couple of months at the helm.

It will be results that will make or break Caixinha, though. In the eyes of the fans and the board, his record will speak for itself.

It is only natural that emotions run high in the days that follow an Old Firm loss, especially when it is the latest black mark on Rangers’ record in recent times and fans will be split on the dressing room dynamic at present.

If there are concerns over the manager, they have to be taken into account and cannot be brushed aside. The levels of support Caixinha has on and off the pitch will differ but he remains the figure to rally round for many at present.

The public show of affection from Daniel Candeias after he scored Rangers’ third on Friday night was warmly welcomed by Caixinha. It was, he said, a display of gratitude.

But it is performances and results that he needs from them more than anything through a run of fixtures that will shape Rangers’ ambitions this term, and perhaps define Caixinha’s future.

Having gone into the international break on the back of a positive display and a deserved victory, Caixinha now has plenty of time to prepare for the trip to St Johnstone next Friday.

His plans have been thrown up in the air following the cancellation of the friendly with Benfica but a new blueprint will be drawn as Rangers look to hit the ground running on their return to action.

The Betfred Cup semi-final with Motherwell follows the trip to McDiarmid Park and if Rangers can string three wins together for the first time this term then Caixinha’s supporters will have a reason to be optimistic.

His critics will require far more evidence before they are won over, though, and it is only by putting together a sustained run that the Gers boss will buy himself some breathing space and a bit of time out of the spotlight.

There is goodwill towards Caixinha from the Ibrox crowd but demands must be met and expectations satisfied or the pressure will continue to build. The mood on the terraces is important for Caixinha, but the feelings in the boardroom are even more so.

The fall-out with Ferguson was just one factor why it didn’t work out for Le Guen at Ibrox as his signings flopped and points were shipped in the top flight. If Caixinha is to avoid suffering a familiar fate, he needs the backing of his players more than ever.

A victory over Hamilton is one thing, but being able to win week after week, month after month, is quite another. That is the challenge that lies ahead for Rangers now and it is one that Caixinha’s side must rise to sooner rather than later.