MARK WARBURTON described tonight’s defeat at Tynecastle as “way below the level acceptable for Rangers Football Club.”
The Light Blues were beaten 4-1 by Ian Cathro’s side and Warburton said sorry to the supporters who had travelled through to the Capital to cheer on their side.
He told RangersTV: “There’s frustration and there’s disappointment. The fans came out in their numbers again so firstly, apologies to them. We win games together, players and staff, and that was way below the level acceptable for Rangers Football Club – simple as that.
“We are disappointed with the first half-hour. We conceded after three minutes which you cannot do here at Tynecastle, but we got the goal back, and started to play for the last 10 minutes of the first half.
“The keeper pulled off a good save to stop us going 2-1 up, and coming in at half time we knew what we had to do. But quite simply, we replicated the mistake again. We conceded a goal after three or four minutes and again gave their fans hope, and we cannot do that. We cannot switch off as a team, and there were too many mistakes.
“We weren’t tight, we lacked dynamism, and I’m not blaming the pitch – forget that, it’s the same for both teams. But tonight, we were way below the level we have expected here in the last 18 months.
“We switched off from the free-kick in the first half, and we spoke about it in analysis, and then in the second half again, we switched off. But the second goal, we cannot come out, have a game-plan, and then give away a soft goal like that. It was a schoolboy error to give away a goal of that nature and we paid the price for it.
“Then we are looking for a reaction and we looked cumbersome, we didn’t move the ball quickly and we didn’t threaten their goalkeeper. There are no excuses, we came here last time and said the same and unfortunately I am saying the same again.
“We have to look at that tomorrow very very clearly and then, I won’t say learn from it, but we have to recognise how bad that was tonight. Everything must be better, Saturday’s second-half was probably the best it’s been in 18 months in terms of quality of play.
“As good as we were Saturday second-half we were poor tonight second-half. It is about the group, it is players and staff together and it’s not about blaming them it is about the group and tonight the levels weren’t acceptable.”
Emerson Hyndman netted his second in two games to grab the Gers equaliser and his substitution on the hour mark caused some jeers from the fans.
Warburton insists he was protecting the talented prospect though.
The Gers boss continued: “Emerson is 20-years-old, he hasn’t played a lot of 90 minute football Saturday was a huge ask for 90 minutes and he was outstanding Saturday.
“With games coming thick and fast I have to look after the player and I am delighted for him to get his second goal.
“Our job is to explain sometimes what we do and the communication with the fans is important but he is 20 and playing his second game in the space of four or five days on a very heavy pitch.
“It wasn’t a negative substitution because we had Harry Forrester coming on so we were bringing on attacking instincts.”