Mark Warburton criticised his Rangers players for a “sloppy” performance yesterday after they failed in their bid to reclaim second place in the Premiership.
The Ibrox manager felt his players should have been out of sight after going in front after just eight minutes at Ross County but they passed up several chances.
“We got the early goal and then, you tell me: was it four, five, six counter-attacks we had?” asked Warburton. “We weren’t playing as well as we’d wanted but when you make six counter-attacks you’ve got to take the opportunities. You can’t give up rewards like that. It wasn’t a good performance in terms of moving the ball forward and decision-making. Last week [the 3-0 win over Kilmarnock] was very good and we want our average performance to be much higher than that today.”
County equalised in the first half and while the second half was marred by a spate of yellow cards, with six home players going into referee Andrew Dallas’s book, the Highlanders could have won the game at the death.
Asked if the opportunities they created were simply part of the natural flow of any game, especially when his side were themselves going for a winner, Warburton said bluntly: “No, I just thought we were sloppy. There was too much loose passing. If you’re sloppy other teams will get chances.”
Warburton was unhappy with some of the official’s decision, and non-decisions. He felt Rangers goalscorer Clint Hill was blocked at a corner attempting to stop County’s equaliser. “How many yellow cards were there when we tried to break forward and a man was pulled back? That was frustrating for us,” he added.
Staggies manager Jim McIntyre said he had no quibble with any of the bookings handed out to his team but wondered why Wes Foderingham wasn’t penalised for handling a passback. That was a pivotal moment but McIntyre added: “Instead of the referee I’d rather talk about the performance of my team, who I thought were
Nine games without a win had plunged County to the foot of the table but their manager said: “When you’ve been on that kind of run it takes real guts to play against a good side, press them high, get numbers forward, create chances and I thought we were really brave. More of that kind of performance and we’ll certainly be climbing the table.
“It’s been a crazy league so far. Motherwell gave us a good going-over and now they’ve just lost to Dundee. Lots of teams are beating each other. We’re just three points from sixth place.
“The first goal in games is important, but we’ve shown that when we lose it we’ve got the courage to fight back.”