MARK WARBURTON today insisted there must be no Old Firm hangover in Wednesday’s game with St Johnstone.

The Light Blues went down 1-0 to a late Moussa Dembele goal at Hampden on Sunday in the League Cup, and despite the natural hurt the defeat has brought, Warburton has backed his players to respond in the right manner.

Speaking at this afternoon’s media conference, he explained: “I haven’t seen players mentally shrink after an Old Firm defeat. The fact is they played in a game at the National Stadium, and they are desperately disappointed to lose a game of football. You never want to lose any game of football, let alone a semi-final to your local rivals.

“The fact is we have to be better for that, we have to move forward and we have to focus on two very important league games.

“There can’t be any hangover, and there is no use in feeling sorry for yourself. There are no fitness or fatigue issues St Johnstone played yesterday too just two hours ahead of us and Tommy [Wright] and his team will be working hard to recover. We are looking forward to what will be another tough game on Wednesday night.”

Warburton also addressed questions relating to the supposed gap between Rangers and Celtic, saying: “There is a financial gap that exists at the moment, and I think that is clear for everyone to see. You recognise the implications of a rival club with a stronger financial base at this moment in time. The worst thing Rangers could do is spend recklessly to try and close that gap quickly. The gap is there – and it’s very important to know that the gap is there, but what is also important is the dialogue and communication within the club, and the target-setting to know what we have to do in what timeframe to close that gap.

“The worst thing we could do is not build strong foundations here and from the chairman and the board down, the club is very clear over what it has to do.”

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