MARK WARBURTON could not hide his disappointment and frustration after his Rangers side suffered a 5-1 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic at Parkhead this afternoon.
The Light Blues enjoyed positive spells at the start of the first half and second but struggled to cope with Celtic’s frontline on this occasion. That, ultimately, proved so costly with Moussa Dembele grabbing a hat-trick.
Speaking after the final whistle to RangersTV.tv, the manager gave his assessment of his team’s display. He said: “I think we’ve got to look at it; in terms of the first half we were bright first 20 minutes. It was an even, nip and tuck game which we expected and we wanted to keep the crowd quiet.
“I think we were comfortable the first 20 minutes, but then we give away a cheap goal which frustrated us, in terms of men being in the box and the corner, we didn’t deal with that.
“Then there was a loose pass [for their second goal], but we got the goal back before half time and at 2-1 we were saying to ourselves ‘we are nowhere near our best but come out nice and bright’.
“We did that second half, the first 12 to 15 minutes I thought we picked up the second ball, looked very positive, looked to move the ball quickly. Barrie had the chance when he curled it just wide of the far post and I said to David [Weir] ‘we are in good shape here’.
“Then, from our attack, we give the ball away and it’s 3-1, now we have an uphill struggle.
“Philippe gets sent off for hand ball, it’s a red card and he has to go. So he’s gone, but then the frustration for us at that point is that [Mikael] Lustig on the far side takes out Barrie McKay – surely that has to even things up.
“I’m never going to condone men being sent off but you send off Senderos because he had to go and the other player had to go as well.
“The comments we got back are…you saw David Weir’s frustration, he was sent to the stand and I felt the two of us couldn’t get sent to the stand. But the fact of the matter is that was a poor decision.”
After half-time Rangers went in search of an equaliser and they enjoyed arguably their best period of the match before Celtic scored with a breakaway goal, with Scott Sinclair beat Wes Foderingham to make it 3-1.
That was painful blow for the visitors and for Warburton, he added: “It was our best spell and I think they were frustrated that we were getting second ball as well.
“We were high up the pitch, we were pressing like we do normally, and I was pleased with the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“But goals definitely change games and we’ve got to respect that, we’ve got to be better for today.
“I don’t want our fans to think this is taken lightly, we’ve got a proper inquest in there. The support from them was magnificent, but we don’t come here, or anywhere, and lose goals like that.
“But, as I say, at 3-1 we had a choice to make – damage limitation or do we actually look to say ‘will we get the next goal here and we could nick something at the end?’
“It was a decision I made and I put my hand up for that, but I would rather be positive and go for it than sit back and accept a 3-1 defeat.”