MARK WARBURTON was left thrilled with the resilience his side showed as they ground out a tough 1-0 victory at St Mirren this afternoon.
Jason Holt’s first-half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides, and the Light Blues at times had to weather a storm of attacking play from the home side.
But they came through with both the clean sheet and the all-important three ppints, leaving Warburton thrilled.
Speaking after the game to RangersTV.tv, the manager explained: “When we look back at the end of the season, that was a big three points for us today. We knew about the level of challenge, we saw their approach, and we didn’t want to get drawn into a ‘cup-final’ type scenario.
“We weren’t at our best by a long way in terms of taking care of the ball and making good decisions. The players know that – they’re very honest, but we still came here and created a lot of chances, and, very respectfully, we could have been out of sight in the first half.
“It’s difficult to say [why Rangers weren’t at their best]. I keep saying about our opponents that they aren’t going to do what we want them to do – they were physical and their crowd got behind them. We didn’t want to get involved in a battle – and in those sort of conditions it’s hard sometimes as you can be drawn into one-on-one situations.
“But it was a pleasing performance. We showed our supporters our resilience, and it was a big three points. We knew it would be tough as they have a good recent run of results, but we dealt with it and even although we were below our best, we still got a big result today.”
Jason Holt made it two-in two in the Championship having notched the equaliser in last week’s 2-1 win over Queen of the South, and the manager was delighted with his contribution, as well of that of his goalkeeper, who pulled of a string of excellent saves to keep the Buddies at bay.
Warburton added: “Jason has been tremendous. His level of consistency and quality in recent weeks has been outstanding. He works tirelessly off the ball too and cramped up in the 85th minute there as a result of the amount of work he got through.
“It was a great finish from him, and there were some big performances out there. You look at Wes Foderingham – he had two or three outstanding saves, and the subs came on and had a good impact too.
“There is no doubt over Wes. His distribution is outstanding, he’s brave on the ball, and he’s calm, assured and dominates his box and had two or three first-class saves.”
The gap between Rangers and Hibernian remains eight points at the top of the Championship ahead of the two clubs meeting at Easter Road next Sunday, and Warburton was once again at pains to point out that the trip to Leith will not be treated any differently from any other.
He continued: “It’s another game, and another three points – I don’t care who it is. I’m sure the media and other people will build the game up, but our focus is on Rangers Football Club and being the best we can.
“Every game – whether it’s Hibernian or Raith, it’s just about the next game. Today was purely about St Mirren, and coming here and getting the result.”