Rangers manager Mark Warburton last night railed against the first-half display of his team as “the worst in my 14 months as manager” as his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock.
An incident-strewn 90 minutes brought a straight red card for Greg Taylor after a horrendous tackle on Joey Barton in 63 minutes, after a superb free-kick from James Tavernier had cancelled out a Kris Boyd opener. These came on an engrossing game that television pictures suggested could have resulted in referee Kevin Clancy awarding three penalties – two for the Ibrox men – and cautioned Rangers debutant Joe Garner for a dive in the box.
It was put to Warburton that his club’s fans might now be “fretting” after two draws in their opening four games without having played one of the leading Premiership sides and with a trip to Celtic Park in a fortnight.
“If they are fretting, I understand that. That’s the expectations,” said Warburton, who remains “hopeful” of adding a fourth centre-back amid reports of Philippe Senderos having a medical at the club. “We drew with Hamilton on the opening day and it was like ‘the end of the world is nigh’. We are still bedding in players, and players are getting used to games against the Old Firm being like cup finals, with the work ethic of Scottish players unrivalled in the game. We have had passages of good play, but we have to be better for longer.”
In contrast, Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark beamed about the efforts of his team. “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.”