27 Aug Rangers too sloppy
Rangers boss Mark Warburton told his side to get their act together after admitting their sloppy showing at Kilmarnock was the worst of his Ibrox reign.
The Light Blues were well off the pace in the first half at Rugby Park and paid the price when former Gers frontman Kris Boyd fired the hosts ahead.
James Tavernier struck home a sensational free-kick after the break to level the match but despite playing the last 27 minutes against 10 men when Killie midfielder Greg Taylor was sent off for a wild tackle on Joey Barton, Warburton’s men were unable to find a winning goal.
And the Englishman admits his side need to start putting in 90-minute displays after the 1-1 draw handed the initiative to Ladbrokes Premiership title rivals Celtic ahead of next month’s Old Firm duel.
He said: “It was not a Rangers team in that first half. It’s the worst display in the last 14 or 15 months.
“We move quickly and with quality on the training field and we didn’t do that. We chose to go long and I don’t know why.
“We have played four games. I understand that is the expectation at Rangers. We draw at Hamilton in the first game and the end of the world is nigh.
“There is no shortage of desire and commitment. What we have to do is take it from the training pitch onto the match pitch.
“We have had passages of good play, Dundee second half and today second half. But we have to be better for longer.
“I think we have to play with a bit more belief. We looked hesitant at times in terms of our decision-making. That is very unlike us and we didn’t get the ball moving.
“We have new players coming and there is maybe some gelling still going on. But they are training exceptionally well and we have to take that into matches.”
Both sides had claims for penalties but Warburton was not interested in criticising referee Kevin Clancy, saying: “I haven’t seen the penalty incidents yet but that aside we should have taken the spoils.”
Rangers had to make a late change when Danny Wilson suffered a calf pull in the warm-up, with Clint Hill taking his place.
The defender was caught out when Boyd raced through to slam the ball past Wes Foderingham and the sight of the his defence being cut open so easily has convinced Warburton he needs to add another defender soon, although he refused to mention reported target Philippe Senderos by name.
Joe Dodoo has been sent for an X-ray after injuring an ankle early in the match, while Warburton admitted Barton was lucky to escape serious injury when Taylor smashed into him just after Tavernier’s set-piece.
He said: “Joey is okay. I saw the challenge, we don’t want to see anyone sent off but it was a poor challenge.
“I was conscious the atmosphere was rising, he was on a yellow card so I took him off as a precaution.”
Killie boss Lee Clark, though, could only praise his side as they held on for a deserved point.
“I’ve got a great pride in my team and their performance from the first minute to the last.” he said. “They executed our game plan very well and scored a great goal.
“I’ve got no qualms about the red card, though it was more a result of over-exuberance. Greg is a great player with a terrific attitude. He has a determination and will to do well for the jersey but he’s got to channel it.
“The lads put in an unbelievable shift when it was 10 against 11.”