Warburton riled by ‘disrespectful’ criticism of his Rangers players
MARK WARBURTON accused the critics of disrespecting his players after Rangers took out the frustrations of their midweek League Cup defeat to St Johnstone on Ladbrokes Championship rivals Morton yesterday.
A hat-trick from Martyn Waghorn and a James Tavernier goal earned the Ibrox side a 4-0 win at Cappielow. The result took them nine points clear of Falkirk, their nearest challengers, at the top of Scotland’s second tier and helped banish the memory of their 3-1 reverse to the Perth side. “The players were ready,” the Rangers manager said: “They were riled by some of the comments. They trained really well and there was no doubt we were going to go out and start well.
“I knew Jim [Duffy, the Morton manager] would have prepared his team accordingly, but we were good in that first half hour. I would say they [the players] were hurt [by the criticism after the cup tie]. It was a little bit disrespectful. They’ve now played 13 games and won 12. Everyone loses a game of football at some point. We’ll learn from it. But I just thought some of the comments were a little bit over the top considering we had lost one game of football.”
Andy Halliday admitted the Rangers dressing room had been fired up after the midweek setback, their first of the campaign, but said he had been surprised by how much the supporters had stuck behind the players. “It was important we bounced back after Tuesday night,” the midfielder said. “It was good to have a game so quickly after such a disappointing result.
“We started with a high intensity and that has been lacking the last two or three games. We had something to prove – we wanted to prove something to ourselves. We want to prove we can maintain a consistent level every game.
“Such are the high demands at Rangers that a defeat is unacceptable. But I thought the fans were different class and that’s probably because they are buying into the way we want to play. They came here in numbers to Greenock and got right behind us again. As players, we were frustrated because we want to win every cup we are in. We got knocked out and naturally we were disappointed so it was important to bounce back.”
Duffy admitted his side had been
second best while also bemoaning the individual errors which had cost his team. The first goal came from a penalty after Ross Forbes had dived in on Nathan Oduwa.
Duffy said: “Rangers had a bit of criticism after the midweek game and you could see it fired them up.
“I said to the players before the game that Rangers had already had six penalties this season so we warned them not to dive in but we did.
“That is the frustrating thing but you must applaud Rangers’ style of football because it’s very pleasing on the eye.”