War­bur­ton: We’ll deal with ‘shock’ of top flight

Aberdeen’s claims dis­missed as naive

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT MULLEN

MARK WAR­BUR­TON, the Rangers man­ager, be­lieves Shay Lo­gan will be “shocked” at how good his team will be next sea­son af­ter the Aberdeen de­fender said the Cham­pi­onship win­ners are in for an un­pleas­ant sur­prise on their re­turn to the top flight.

The 28-year-old de­fender, who War­bur­ton worked with dur­ing their time at Brent­ford, went on record ear­lier this week as say­ing the Ibrox side will be in for a far tougher and un­ex­pected test com­pared to what they have ex­pe­ri­enced over the last cam­paign.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view af­ter sign­ing a new deal at Aberdeen, Lo­gan said: “They will be chal­leng­ing but they will find it tough as we will be right up there again. No dis­re­spect to the Cham­pi­onship but there are teams in that di­vi­sion nowhere near the stan­dard of the Premier­ship.

“Rangers will get a shock at the qual­ity they come across, not just from our­selves, but also Hearts and other clubs such as Ross County, Dundee and Mother­well.”

In re­sponse to those re­marks, the Rangers man­ager in­sists that his group of play­ers will be fully aware of the step up in op­po­nent they will face when they take to the Lad­brokes Premier­ship in Au­gust. And War­bur­ton even went as far as to say that it will not be his team that will be sur­prised at the qual­ity of their op­po­nents, but the re­verse.

“I know Shay re­ally well. Tell Shay I am not sur­prised he said that,” he laughed. “I know him well, but there will be no lack of aware­ness at the higher level.

“Maybe it works both ways. Maybe he will be shocked at how good we are next sea­son. It can go both ways.

“But Shay is a tal­ented boy who has done re­ally well at Aberdeen. I’m de­lighted he has signed a new con­tract. That will be one of many tough tests we have next year. But we look for­ward to those games.”

Lo­gan’s com­ments came fresh off the back of Aberdeen team­mate An­drew Con­si­dine claim­ing the Dons will “put Rangers in their place”.

Again, War­bur­ton re­fused to be drawn into a war of words, but did claim the the­ory of Rangers not be­ing ready to com­pete was “naive”.

“The game is about opin­ions,” he said. “What­ever Aberdeen play­ers say, Lo­gan or Con­si­dine, it’s down to them.

“They can form their opinion and if they are proven right then fine. But I don’t ex­pect any­one to let us roll them over. It’s go­ing to be a tough di­vi­sion with lots of hard games, home and away.

“Ev­ery point has to be earned, but we un­der­stand that. There is no lack of readi­ness on our part. “I think that is a lit­tle bit naive.” Rangers bring their Cham­pi­onship cam­paign to a close to­mor­row when they travel to the Pais­ley 2021 Sta­dium to take on St Mir­ren ahead of a three­week break un­til their Wil­liam Hill Scot­tish Cup fi­nal against Hibs.

It is an un­usual time for all con­cerned around Mur­ray Park, who will be given an ini­tial few days off be­fore prepa­ra­tion for May 21 be­gins. For War­bur­ton, it is an op­por­tu­nity to eval­u­ate the cam­paign and, in par­tic­u­lar, a trou­bling post Old Firm pe­riod that has seen Rangers lose twice and draw one.

“You don’t flick a switch,” said War­bur­ton. “What we have to do is just recog­nise that we are prob­a­bly tired.

“You can get fa­tigue and to play those sort of games – to win the league, the Petro­fac and beat Celtic in that 11-day pe­riod – it’s un­der­stand­able fa­tigue will kick in a lit­tle bit. I’m not de­fend­ing it – it’s our job to de­fend against it. But we can learn.”

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