MARK WARBURTON cut a frustrated figure at the final whistle this evening after his side dropped points for the third game in a row in the SPFL Championship.
After a defeat to Hibs and a draw against Alloa on Saturday, the Light Blues were looking to return to winning ways at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena but instead they struggled to break down the home side’s stubborn backline.
Former Gers defender Craig Halkett’s first-half header gave Livingston the lead against the run of play and they managed to hold on to that slender advantage.
The SPFL Championship winners certainly had enough possession and chances to claim at least a point but the overall performance disappointed Warburton.
Speaking after the game to RangersTV, he said: “As a club it’s not about the players separate from the staff, it’s us together.
“That was way below our standard, one point from nine. Hibs after the Celtic game, you can maybe say it’s understandable, not acceptable but understandable.
“Saturday you can say about the celebrations but still again not good enough.
“But tonight was way below Rangers’ level and you can say the team were tired, they’ve had no days off, but those guys [Livingston] are scrapping in relegation play-offs.
“They won tonight and they had the two best chances in the first half, so for all the possession, that’s not acceptable to Rangers Football Club.
“It’s not about them, as in players, it’s one group together and that’s not our standard.”
Having clinched the Championship title, won the Petrofac Cup and reached the Scottish Cup Final, the Rangers players have received a lot of praise this season and rightly so, but Warburton feels their standards dropped this evening.
He said: “They’ve set high standards, they deserve the rewards they have got, they’ve played well, they’ve played with intensity and purpose and quality and style, moving the ball quickly, good rotation, good timing of movement and tonight that was sadly lacking in most areas.
“Only in the last 10 to 15 minutes did we show any real urgency and we had a few chances, but we didn’t test the keeper for 33 minutes in the second half which again is well below our level.”
The manager continued: “Possession for the sake of it is irrelevant. Look at Leicester, they probably have 30 to 40 percent possession in most games and they are top of the Premier League and rightly deserve to be there.
“So it’s possession with a purpose and passing with a purpose. Too many times tonight backwards and square, hesitant, loose in our decision making and that’s not us.
“So it’s nothing the players wouldn’t say themselves and it’s not about them and the management staff having a rant at them.
“It’s about us together. Did we get the loading right as staff? Did we get the days off right as staff? Did we get the timings right as staff? We’ve got to look at it because as I’ve said that’s unacceptable.
“We’ve got 24 days to be the best we can be and we will make sure that when the 21st [of May] comes around we’ll deliver the performance that we know we are more than capable of doing”