In McDowall’s first match in charge following Ally McCoist’s departure on gardening leave, Rangers were taken apart by an impressive Hibs side who could, as McDowall admitted, have won by more than the 4-0 final scoreline.
McDowall, fiercely competitive in his playing days with St Mirren and Partick Thistle, accepts the Light Blues were lightweight and flawed in many aspects but he insists that the players are committed.
“I don’t accept that the players are lacking heart,” said McDowall. “Whether it’s a combination of what’s going on at this present time, I don’t know. But we didn’t get off to the best of starts at the weekend and I think what happened in the rest of the game was a reaction to the start.
“We just got caught in the headlights after the start we made and it threw our preparations out the window.
“I wouldn’t sit here and have a go. The lads are willing to work hard and they want to go and win games. They want to try and get promotion.
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“I’ve had a team meeting where we discussed the weekend events. The boys appreciate it wasn’t good enough and we have gone over the video again. The players have taken responsibility, I’ve taken responsibility, end of.”
McDowall is in an invidious situation having had his backroom staff picked for him and lost his most exciting player, Lewis Macleod, who was sold to Brentford on Hogmanay to bring in much-needed funds. He has the arduous task of trying to coax better performances out of seasoned professionals who have largely under-performed.
Some may question whether he wants to be there at all and it remains to be seen if a new manager will be appointed in the coming weeks given the power bid being made by the investment group of Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor but he insists he will give the job everything he can.
McDowall, who will again pick the team for today’s home clash with Dumbarton, said: “Did I expect to find myself in this position? No, not really.
“But I have to do the best I can do for the club. I have to try and motivate the players and get us back to winning ways.
“Caretaker manager of Rangers is the title and I am trying to take care of the team.”
He is asking those who travel to Ibrox for today’s game to be patient as he tries to engineer a highly coveted victory.
“Confidence is low but you only get confidence by working hard and turning things around on the pitch. We have a tricky game against Dumbarton and at Ibrox you have to be patient as teams tend to sit in. But the most important thing is to win the game.”
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