MARK WARBURTON has pointed to the energy created inside Ibrox Stadium in Rangers’ recent wins over Aberdeen and Hearts as a key feature in their victories.
A Tweet sent by the manager in the aftermath of Gers defeat of the Edinburgh club on Saturday referenced the Govan ground as an “iconic stadium” – and he backed it up this afternoon by insisting his comments were “not loose words.”
The manager also expressed his delight at the deafening reception striker Joe Garner received when he went off as a late substitute, and believes his superb work-rate is the reason he is fast becoming a fans’ favourite.
Speaking exclusively to RangersTV.tv this morning, the manager explained: “It’s so important, and they are not loose words. It is one of football’s great stadiums, and when you hear it in full voice as it was on Saturday, that’s tremendous. The inspiration it gives the team, the drive it gives the team, and the impact it has on individual players is fantastic – the reception for Joe Garner coming off on 88 minutes was magnificent.
“For young boys coming on as well – young Liam Burt who came on into that environment and that arena of football is magnificent, and what we have to do and what we have to strive to achieve is that on a regular basis.
“He [Joe] is working for the shirt. David and I always spoke of Brentford – in a very respectful way – as a working men’s club. By that, it’s honest people who go and support the club and they want to see the home side’s effort as a given.
“The quality on top, they enjoy, but they want to make sure they see the effort, and Joe Garner gives you 100% every time he pulls a jersey on. The fans are seeing that now – but his quality is apparent. His clever movement, his timing of his leaps, his tackles and his runs – he is a top class professional, and we are delighted to have him on board.
“We have spoken about him getting better and better, and the fans are seeing that now. He is responding to their backing now, and all around the team, they are responding to that. They have to recognise that responsibility – enjoy it – and understand what you have to do week-in, week-out.
“That’s the players going to work. It’s great to walk out the tunnel and have 50,000 people there, but the expectation is something we speak about time and time again. The intimidation factor etc. – you have got to deal with that and not shirk or shy away from that. The players are learning, they are enjoying the responsibility and the more they can do that, the better they will be.”
The whole Rangers performance on Saturday was one to savour, with every player receiving high praise from the manager for their considerable efforts.
Warburton believes the tone for was set early on, and he continued: “It was very pleasing following on from the Aberdeen game. Obviously the performance at Tynecastle wasn’t our normal level, so we wanted to deliver a high-energy, high-tempo, high quality display, getting on the front foot and winning the first ball, pressing high up the park and winning the ball high up the park, and we did that.
“I felt we dominated for the majority of the game. Everyone throughout the squad contributed – and good guys didn’t get on the pitch on Saturday, but they have a huge role to play. It’s about the squad, and never about any individual.
“We’re obviously at home at Ibrox, and we had a fantastic level of backing in the last game with Aberdeen. We wanted to get the crowd in the same spirit – and it’s our responsibility to deliver a level of performance.
“Kenny [Miller] expressed that straight from the outset – he pressed the ‘keeper, and almost got the rewards, and we saw that time and time again throughout the 90 minutes. It was very pleasing – our energy levels were good, our physical fitness was good, and the subs made a good impact as well. All-round, it was a good afternoon’s work.”
Warburton was also delighted with the way some of his players, including James Tavernier, played out of position, and added: “We looked at what problems Hearts would pose us – athletically and their physicality – and Tav is a superb athlete. He gets around well, and while it may be unfamiliar in terms of the pitch geography possibly, he got around, pressed players and showed great energy and dynamism. And, he showed good quality on the ball, so I am pleased with his quality and contribution.”
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