MARK WARBURTON was delighted to mark his first competitive game in charge of Rangers with a 6-2 victory over Hibs at Easter Road, a result which takes the club through to the second round of the Petrofac Training Cup.
The manager, however, admits his side’s first-half performance was not good enough and nowhere near the level he expects.
Sam Stanton got the Hibees off to a flyer after just 15 minutes with a terrific strike from 20 yards and at that stage Alan Stubbs’ men had created a number of chances and deserved their lead.
But a delightful free-kick from James Tavernier, followed by a close-range finish from Martyn Waghorn, meant the Light Blues went in at the break ahead.
Further goals from Waghorn, Andy Halliday and super sub Kenny Miller (2) in the second period made it a day to remember for the travelling Bears and Warburton gave his thoughts on the performance to RangersTV.
He said: “Honestly, we know it’s a tough place to come to and we know the quality Hibs possess.
“The result is pleasing of course for the fans and the tremendous support they gave us and the backing they gave us. But first half wasn’t good enough.
“What I’ve learned from this group of players in the short period of time is their honesty and they recognise that the first half was way below the required level.
“We had a good reaction but there is still a lot more to come from what is a talented group of players.”
On the opening half hour of the game, he continued: “We know how good this squad of players can be but we didn’t pass the ball, we didn’t take care of the football, didn’t dominate the football, runners came off of us, we were hesitant, slow decision making and it wasn’t us. We’ve trained to a lot higher standard than that.
“So we could have been two down quite easily but football being football we get the break with a great free kick and then the first bit of football I thought we played in the game was in the 43rd minute and the second goal.
“That was important and that was the message at half time. When we do do what we do well we will be in good shape, and second half the subs made a difference and it is about the squad.
“It is not about the 11 or the 14 today. Young Tom Walsh was the 19th man but it was a key role for him to play as well.
“Zaliuskas wasn’t here and a couple more – Ryan Hardie has travelled to Ireland – but it will be about the squad of players taking us through what will be a long season.”