MARK WARBURTON has praised James Tavernier, Rob Kiernan, Danny Wilson and Lee Wallace after the defensive quartet helped Wes Foderingham record his fourth clean sheet in a row against Kilmarnock on Saturday.
The Gers backline have been in fine form of late, and while the goals have dried up slightly at the other end of the park, the solid foundations have allowed Rangers to stretch their current unbeaten run to eight games.
While delighted with these stats, the manager admits that small tweaks have helped.
Warburton, speaking at his pre-match press conference at Murray Park today, said: “We had some work. We spoke about, analysis-wise, where did teams think we were vulnerable?
“We had a spell where we dropped a couple of points, where we were maybe too gung-ho in terms of teams getting bodies behind the ball, eight nine or ten behind the ball, and we pushed on the extra man and lost our shape.
“A lot of the work we did as a group of players and staff outside was to tighten it up and I think, touch wood, it’s so far so good.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but defensively I think we’ve looked solid and compact in the last couple of games. We were very good against Kilmarnock last weekend, we moved well, we squeezed play well, we compacted space very well.
“So delighted with that and we’ve had good results in front of goal as well.”
The manager continued: “You have to look at how teams set up and how they hope to expose you. That’s how football works.
“So we’ll look at Alloa, what will Alloa do? Then we move to Kilmarnock and how do Kilmarnock look to break us down?
“We felt Kilmarnock would sit in for example and look to counter us. The team sheet backed that up as well, so you have to look at it and how teams would view Rangers.
“For a while I think we were seen as vulnerable on the counter. Hopefully we have quashed that now.”
One player missing from the Gers backline in recent weeks has been Dominic Ball with the on-loan Spurs youngster slotting into the holding midfield role and impressing his boss in the process.
Warburton added: “I think Dom has done exceptionally well.
“For a young 20-year-old centre half on loan to be asked to play in a big game against Falkirk out of position and in front of 47,000 fans.
“To play to that level was a fantastic achievement by Dom and to show again in the next game the same level of consistency and defensive awareness and good use of the football, encouragement and communication to his team-mates.
“I think it’s outstanding, so he’s posed another selection headache. He has shown he can sit in that number 4 role for us and play a really key role. I’m delighted by that and by his overall contribution.”