BILLY KIRKWOOD wants a better performance from Rangers when they face St Johnstone on Tuesday – but admits he expected to see some of the sluggishness his side displayed in today’s win over Falkirk.

The Development Squad coach was pleased to see his side return to action following the winter break with a victory, but with a trip to McDiarmid Park to come in the SFA Youth Cup, Kirkwood has called on his squad to improve.

He explained: “It was a good game to return to action. We got the 2-1 victory, which was hard-fought. I was expecting that after the three or four-week lay-off the lads have had since the last game.

“These games are necessary to get the rustiness away. My experience at first-team, reserve and youth team level is there is always rustiness – you look at how you can have upsets in the cup when you come back from a break.

“You need to have a real game of football, and I thought today that was a real game of football for our lads. We could have been a lot better in the first half but we were good in spells in the second half.

“I thought we deserved to win but we could have been a hell of a lot better overall.”

Gers were much better in the second half of the game where they grabbed their two goals – with that reaction pleasing Kirkwood.

He added: “We just needed a bit of calmness as half time as we were all frustrated with the way we played in the first half. But, like I say, it was to be expected after that lay-off. Getting the cobwebs off and getting back playing was important, and I thought as a unit and as individuals we did that in the second half for periods.

“When we went 2-0 up, we should have seen the game out, but allowing them to score and get back in the game so quickly gave them a lift, and that made it tough.

“We have a few knocks, pulls and strains, but now we look forward to the game on Tuesday. It’s a rehab day tomorrow, and now hopefully we will get a better performance and the result against St Johnstone on Tuesday.”

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