Mark Warburton: Rangers squad good enough to win the title

Manager Mark Warburton puts Joe Dodoo through his paces as Rangers prepare to face Hamilton Accies at Ibrox this lunchtime. Picture: SNS
Manager Mark Warburton puts Joe Dodoo through his paces as Rangers prepare to face Hamilton Accies at Ibrox this lunchtime. Picture: SNS
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Mark Warburton will proudly lead Rangers back into top-flight action today with the conviction that the squad he has assembled is good enough to win the Premiership title.

The lunchtime clash with Hamilton Accies is a 52,000 sell-out, the Championship flag will be unfurled and Warburton says his team are ready.

The fans have waited four years for this moment and he is determined to deliver a winning start of what he hopes will be a hugely successful 
campaign.

Warburton said: “It’s a 
massive day for the club and you’ve got to look forward to 
occasions like this.

“I appreciate the occasion and the players understand the importance of Rangers returning to the top flight after four years away.

“We’ve trained really well last week and the boys get it. They are all looking forward to it.

“Everyone wants to start on a good note but it’s a long, hard season. As someone once said, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

“Teams are capable of late runs, although it goes without saying we want to get off to a good start. That will get the self-belief and confidence flowing through the team.

“Everyone asks me where we’re going to finish, how well will we do? If I say to the players, ‘let’s finish third’, what kind of message is that? It’s the same as telling the fans we want to finish in the top six. They are not going to buy that.

“We want to finish as high as we can, to say we’ll win it is naive and foolish, but do I think we’ve got a good enough squad to do it? Yes, I think we have. All the teams will feel 
the same but we’ve added another layer of quality and we’re in good shape.”

Hamilton are the most popular bet for relegation this season and it is expected they will let Rangers keep the ball and try to hit them on the break.

Warburton, however, has encouraged them to be actively involved. He said: “If I was a Hamilton player, coming to Ibrox to play in front of 50,000 in a game of this significance, with a playing surface like a carpet, you’ve got to love that.

“We recognise the boost players get from coming to play at Ibrox and we have to nullify that, absolutely. Niko Kranjcar will tell you. He has 81 caps for Croatia but comes to the ground on Saturday, looks around. Loves it. It is an iconic stadium and as much as it is good for us it also gives the opposition a lift. We have to look to nullify that threat.

“We think they’ll have a go. We think they’ll come in, be tight, be very solid, very compact and play to their strengths and look to have a go at us.

“We’ve had them watched, we know what we face as we’ve been to see them a few times, we’ve analysed them quite heavily this week so we know what to expect.”

Hamilton manager Martin Canning has strengthened his strikeforce ahead of the campaign by signing Trinidad and Tobago international Richard “Shaka” Roy.

The 28-year-old joins from Defence Force in his homeland on a four-month deal after training with Accies during pre-season.

Canning said: “Shaka is added to the squad for the next few months to give us extra cover, especially having lost Eamonn Brophy to injury a couple of weeks ago.

“It gives him a chance now that he is living in Scotland and he came to our attention.”

Canning himself misses out today following surgery to repair a broken cheekbone.