01 Feb Warburton wants form guide
Mark Warburton is looking for Rangers to show their real form when they return to Tynecastle on Wednesday night.
A 2-0 defeat by Hearts in November, in what was Robbie Neilson’s last match in charge of the Jambos before Ian Cathro took over as head coach, saw the home side leapfrog the Ibrox club into second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The Light Blues rallied and have lost only once in eight games since – to rivals Celtic – to regain second spot behind the Parkhead club, who are runaway league leaders.
Warburton, whose side won 2-0 win against Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday, put their last Tynecastle trip down “a bad day at the office” as he looks to continue their good form.
He said: “We said straight away ‘ no excuses’. The important thing was how we responded and and we responded outstandingly well, beating Aberdeen, beating Hearts etc with very good performances and a good run of games.
“We go in to the game on the back of a very good performance (at Motherwell), second-half especially, and we have to take that belief into the game, recognise the challenge and deliver the performance.
“We are getting towards the business end of the season and we have to keep on pushing forward.”
Warburton knows it could be a vastly different Hearts side to the one which hosted the Gers in November as Cathro has brought in nine new players during January.
He said: “We are not sure what team we face.
“But we know they will be well organised by Ian and Austin (McPhee, assistant) and we have to expect a very tough challenge.
“But it is about us, if we can go there and deliver a performance we will be fine.”
Warburton is looking for his latest signing, goalkeeperJak Alnwick, to challenge Wes Foderingham for the number one spot.
The Govan club recruited the 23-year-old goalkeeper from Port Vale in a three-and-a-half year deal on Monday with Matt Gilks moving to Wigan
Alnwick is Rangers’ third signing of the January window after Jon Toral and Emerson Hyndman signed loan deals from Arsenal and Bournemouth respectively.
Warburton said: “He has got to challenge. If a keeper comes in with a number two mentality you are in a weaker position.
“Wes has been outstanding this season. Matt had a number one mentality and Jak has to be the same.”
Alnwick, who started his career at Newcastle, promised Foderingham a challenge, saying: “I have confidence and I will push him” and insisted he did not need to take any counsel when he heard Rangers were interested.
He said: “I didn’t need to. I have known about them for so long, as a young kid you knew about Rangers and I knew I wanted to come here from the minute I found out.
“You can’t turn down a club like this. It is an unbelievable club.
“As soon you hear the name Rangers – it was a no-brainer for me.
“It is a top club, you don’t need anyone to tell you how big it is, where they have been in the past and where they are working towards in the future.”