Substitute Kenny Miller scored the only goal of a tightly-contested match at Queen of the South, with Warburton admitting Rangers were equally indebted to the contribution of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham who denied the home side’s efforts to secure an equaliser.
The victory maintained Rangers’ advantage over closest title rivals Hibs who defeated Alloa earlier in the day and who will play their game in hand at home to Morton on Wednesday.
“It was an important three points and my first message to the players was ‘well done’,” said Warburton.
“But that’s probably as poor as we’ve been all season in the last 20 minutes of the second half.
“We gave the ball away cheaply, we sat too deep and gave them too much time and space. Wes Foderingham pulled off two or three outstanding saves. I’ve said before that we’ve played well and didn’t get our rewards, but today we’ll take that because we played poorly for the last 20 minutes.
“Wes is an outstanding player. He’s still young, but his distribution is great and he is good with the ball at his feet. His reaction saves are first class. You might say he’s not the tallest at 6ft 1in but he dominates his box as well.
“He has been outstanding. In a lot of games, he doesn’t touch the ball for long periods but he maintains concentration well.
“All credit to him today. He made two or three great saves but he has been outstanding all season.”
Warburton claimed he was unaware of Hibs’ result before Rangers kicked off in Dumfries.
“No, I didn’t know, and that’s not being disrespectful to Hibs,” he said. “It’s not about them or any other team, it’s about us. If we keep on winning, we’ll be okay.
“It’s about us worrying about Rangers – preparing well, training well. That has to be the message to the players – it’s about Rangers. If we do our job, we’ll be okay at the end of the season.”
Queen of the South manager James Fowler was left to rue what he felt was his team’s bad luck as they finished the weekend outside of the promotion play-off places.
“I felt we were unfortunate not to take something from the game,” said Fowler. “I felt we were camped in a wee bit in the first half, but we tweaked it at half-time and that gave us more impetus.”