Rangers manager Mark Warburton bemoaned the decision of referee Willie Collum not to reduce Celtic to ten men after he watched his side be comprehensively thumped 5-1 in the opening Old Firm game of the season.
Warburton believed Celtic should have lost a man just minutes after his own centre-half, Phillipe Senderos, was ordered off for two bookings with the score at 3-1. Barrie McKay appeared to be bodychecked by Mikael Lustig – who wasn’t on a yellow – before Kolo Toure – who had been booked – kicked the ball away in the aftermath. The incident resulted in Rangers assistant David Weir being sent to the stand.
“The frustration for us came, at that point, at 3-1 down with an uphill struggle, we felt Barrie McKay was taken out by a player on a yellow card,” Warburton said. “That’s why David Weir was sent to the stands. We never, ever want to see players sent off – Philippe had to go, red card – but we felt on the far side, clear as day, Barrie McKay is taken out. David Weir said: ‘He’s going to go,’ but the referee turned round and said: ‘Play on.’ At that point we were very frustrated.”
Warburton maintained his team should be “judged in May, not after five games” and he rebuffed any suggestion that the four-goal margin of Celtic’s victory that has put them four points clear of the Ibrox side having played a game fewer showed a gulf between the teams.
“My job is to say who would I take from their squad and swap. And I don’t see a major gulf,” he said. “We just got beat 5-1 so I’m not going to sit here like an idiot. Today they have the bragging rights, absolutely, and deserved to win. But there’s no major gulf. We just have to work harder. When you have adversity, work harder.”