Rangers manager Mark Warburton believes his players delivered the perfect riposte to their critics with the 2-1 victory over Aberdeen at Ibrox which lifted them back into second place in the Premiership table.
Warburton and his team were under pressure following their 2-0 defeat at Hearts on Wednesday night, but goals from Kenny Miller and Lee Hodson saw them record their first win against one of last season’s top three clubs.
“The players were more than irked by comments made about them which questioned their battling qualities and desire,” said Warburton. “They were more than irked, but that would be a polite way of putting it.
“They responded really well, they answered a lot of questions today. A lot of nonsense was said about them and they more than answered it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t irked myself. But the best way to answer those comments is to win games of football. Don’t get drawn into nonsensical rows.
“It was very pleasing. No-one controlled the game in the first half, it was pretty neutral. In the second half we stepped on, won second balls and deserved to win the game.
“It’s a great result for us, but not the best we have played this season. We didn’t control the football today, but we did what we had to do.”
Warburton’s afternoon was soured by the late dismissal of Clint Hill for two bookable offences which will rule the veteran defender out of next Saturday’s match against Hearts at Ibrox. The Rangers boss was unhappy at what he saw as an inconsistent display by referee Steven McLean and his assistants.
“The first one for Clint was a yellow card, born out of frustration because of something which happened to Andy Halliday,” said Warburton. “There were a lot of things going on today and a lot of them were being missed. Some were being punished, others were not.
“The second one, Clint didn’t touch him. He said their player turned but no contact was made.”
Warburton, meanwhile, battled away queries over speculation linking him with Brentford’s Spanish playmaker Jota, currently on loan at Eibar, and Birmingham City’s midfielder Diego Fabbrini.
“I’m signing everyone from Eusebio to Zico, I think,” he said. “We are making some progress”.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes felt his team merited more from their efforts. “It is harsh on us,” he said. “We were aggressive, brave and committed. We dominated a lot of the game and frustrated a good Rangers team today.”