MARK WARBURTON was delighted with the test that RB Leipzig provided the Gers and says that he can learn a lot about his players through those kinds of experiences.
The Light Blues were given a tough match against the side currently lying second in the German Bundesliga at the weekend, which is exactly what he wanted for his players so they could see the level to which he wants to lift his squad.
Speaking to RangersTV this week after the trip to Germany, Warburton said: “We wanted that top quality test. We could go and play a local team or go down south where we could get a comfortable victory and high five each other, but the fact is, we have to say this is the level.
“They are a top European team, they are second in the Bundesliga and are three points behind Bayern Munich.
“They are a magnificent club with heavy investment in the last four of five years and eight years ago they didn’t even exist. A tremendous test for us, and exactly the kind of challenge that we wanted.
“I’ve heard some nonsensical comments about whether it would destroy confidence and in my view it’s far from it.
“We’re saying to the boys that is the level and that we have to work harder in training to aspire to that, because they are a top German Bundesliga team.”
The manager went on to then explain that experiences like the short trip to Germany and the tough test involved, reveals a lot about the drive and desire to improve within his squad.
He continued: “If you don’t get the hunger from that then you shouldn’t be at Rangers. If that’s the case then you won’t be at Rangers in the longer term and that’s our job.
“It highlights a number of things as so many different aspects come out from those types of fixtures.
“Who travels well, who eats well, who prepares well and who recognises the significance of the game.
“It was never going to be a friendly. Not when they are one week away from Bundesliga resumption, so we had to recognise that.
“It was a magnificent playing surface, a great stadium. The whole set up was first class, their hospitality was outstanding and the hotel was good. From Rangers perspective it was very good, and we learned a lot from the trip.”
Warburton has dipped into the transfer market twice already in the January transfer window, securing loans for Jon Toral from Arsenal and Emerson Hyndman from Bournemouth, but that pales in comparison to the muscle of RB Leipzig who fielded new €12million signing Dayot Upamecano in the game.
When asked about the financial might of a club like Leipzig in the transfer market, Warburton was keen to point to the fact that his own squad and players will continue to develop.
He continued: “You can’t compete with clubs like that with that level of investment.
“You perhaps can in one off games, but the fact is that significant investment over a period of time has that type of end product, there’s no doubt about that.
“Time is the word that keeps coming up because you have to give young players time to mature, to develop and to understand the game.
“Time is the one commodity at Rangers that is often not there, but in this case, we have to look at it and say we are not in a position to have huge investment.
“David’s (Weir) point about £100 million yesterday is very clear and very valid, it doesn’t always buy you success, sometimes you have to develop your players and take the time to get them to understand what it takes to be a player at this level.
“So we expose them to games like the one at the weekend, to games at Ibrox in front of 50,000 fans, to Old Firm games and fixtures like Aberdeen away and Hearts these types of fixtures will benefit the players accordingly and they need time to mature.”
RANGERS will face Motherwell on this weekend at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup and tickets for the match are still on sale.
The Light Blues have faced Motherwell two times already this season, defeating them at Fir Park in the opening game of the season with James Tavernier and Martyn Waghorn on the scoresheet. The second match was at Ibrox with Harry Forrester opening the scoring and Kenny Miller scoring an injury time winner to separate the sides.
The William Hill Scottish Cup – Fourth Round
Rangers v Motherwell
Saturday 21 January 2017
Kick Off 12.30pm
Ticket prices are adults £20, concessions £15 and juniors £7.
Please note that due to the away support ticket allocation and the segregation option the following areas will not be available for sale for this fixture: BF5, part of BF4 and BR5 rows A to F.