Mark Warburton said post-Dumbarton this evening that he was ‘very happy’ with the result but if Mark Warburton is the Mark Warburton we know, he will be anything but.
If Rangers were ‘below par’ against Livingston, they positively toiled against a well-drilled and hard-working Dumbarton who relished in ‘anti-football’ until their luck ran out.
The truth is while Rangers should have had a penalty inside 40 seconds, and that may have seen a different feel to the game, Dumbarton deserve huge credit for their tactical approach and never-ending work ethic.
Rangers’ ability to express themselves was worryingly absent, and while all teams hit lulls, Rangers’ form seems to have suddenly dipped just before the first ‘big’ test comes to Ibrox in the form of St Johnstone on Tuesday.
The quality of play in the past two games has fallen well below the stunning level it achieved over the majority of the first nine matches, with a real loss of effective link-play and efficient off-ball movement.
Dare I say it, teams seem to be starting to learn Warburton’s style, and those rampaging 5-0 wins may now be starting to become a distant memory.
This is not criticism for criticism’s sake – in fact it is praise to the regime that two matches in a row of weak displays have seen 5 goals scored and only one conceded, but it is a factual observation that the glorious flowing football which punctuated the first nine matches has worryingly dried up in the past two.
Rangers have 11 wins from 11, which is extraordinarily impressive.
But we are now seeing signs that that astonishing start is beginning, just beginning to taper out and normalise.
Teams are starting to figure out Warburton’s Plan A now, and his response is that he does not have a Plan B but that he intends to make Plan A better.
Hopefully we will see how he does that on Tuesday night at Ibrox against higher class opposition.