Rangers squad had '˜heated discussion' after Hearts loss

Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday believes a 'heated' discussion among the squad can help them bounce back from defeat by Hearts.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton (left) and assistant manager Davie Weir (right) speak with Andy Halliday during the defeat to Hearts. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Mark Warburton (left) and assistant manager Davie Weir (right) speak with Andy Halliday during the defeat to Hearts. Picture: SNS

Players and management picked over Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Tynecastle ahead of another difficult encounter, against Aberdeen at Ibrox on Saturday.

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Rangers struggled to create chances until the latter stages and fell to two similar back-post finishes by Robbie Muirhead as he evaded the attentions of right-back James Tavernier.

But Halliday feels the debate was the perfect antidote to a limp performance from Mark Warburton’s men.

The 25-year-old said: “Every defeat is hard to take but last night more than any one. There is a manner in how you lose and that was unacceptable.

“The performance first and foremost wasn’t good enough but we lost the battle all over the park. Credit to Hearts, they thoroughly deserved the victory but from our point of view it certainly wasn’t good enough.

“We have got to get together as a group. We have just had a lengthy talk there. We think there’s a few things we need to put right before we move forward as a group. But the positive is we have a game in two days to put that result right.

“Sometimes when you lose you learn and we have got to learn from that, because a lot of things simply weren’t good enough.

“We looked at key aspects of our game, had a thorough chat about it and a couple of changes might have come out of it. I think we abandoned our way far too early on Wednesday night. Sometimes we have got to stick to it and try different things. We have come together and made a group agreement and we are going to try and put that into practice on Saturday.”

Halliday was at the centre of a previous training-ground debate which did not have a positive outcome - a discussion with Joey Barton in the wake of a 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park in September led to the English midfielder’s suspension and, ultimately, his exit from the club.

But the former Bradford player insists he has put that incident behind him.

“Yeah, 100 per cent,” he said. “It’s stuff that goes on in a football training ground every single day. We’ve got a great group of boys, I get along with every single one of them.

“We just need to show that unity on the park when the chips are down a wee bit and people are starting to sway against us, we need to stick together and show what we’re made of.”

Halliday added: “That’s why I’m happy chats like we just had there have gone on. The boys had a lot to say. We have always got something to say during games and at half-time and full-time, but we have had a heated discussion in there.

“What was said I will keep behind the four walls, but we need to put it into practice and we are looking forward to Saturday now.”

Rangers have now lost all three games against last season’s top three Ladbrokes Premiership teams but Halliday dismissed that statistic ahead of their return game against the Dons.

“I’m not too concerned who we are picking up points against because we want to pick up three points every game,” he said.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s disappointing we have not managed to beat any of the top six but we have got a chance to put that right on Saturday.

“I think we are letting the manager and the fans down just now, we are not playing to our standard of football. The quicker we put it right the better, but those chats like that in there certainly made me feel a bit better about it all.”

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