Warburton – outfoxed and out-thought – AGAIN


For 30 minutes of last night’s visit to McDiarmid Park Rangers looked like the side who had put away both Aberdeen and Hearts in quick succession, not to mention the one who took midtable Kilmarnock to pieces earlier this season.

The play was fluid, dominant, and there was no question Rangers were far and away the better team for that first half hour. It looked to all intents and purposes that the two-match form dip between Hamilton and Inverness was a thing of the past and Warburton had once again got his troops smoothly oiled.

And that was the way it remained – until everything changed when Rob Kiernan’s absolute howler gifted the hosts a goal and the home team changed their system. While Tommy Wright’s side had been outfoxed for the majority of the first half, their wily coach saw a weakness down Rangers’ left with only Barrie McKay and Danny Wilson as defensive cover, both being ill-suited to the task. He switched to a back three after Saints’ equaliser by sacrificing Alston for Scobbie, giving himself an extra body in midfield and thereafter Rangers were reduced to a toothless nothing, producing next to no incisive play.

In short, once again Tommy Wright had Mark Warburton’s number, and quite frankly the visiting manager had no response despite vastly superior resources. Wright remains the unbeaten coach in their head to head, with a win and two draws against Warburton, and for love nor money Warbs’ appears unable to deploy his vastly richer reserves in a way that can deal with Wright’s smart approach.

Sure, until the equaliser, Rangers were definitely the better side, but that counts for absolutely nothing. Many fans are slaughtering Rob Kiernan, and rightly so; the giant stopper had a largely dreadful night, undoing so much of his good form recently, but the truth is it is Rangers’ system seriously under scrutiny; starting out as a back three, before sort of changing to a back four kind of…

When you look at Warburton’s tactical approach, it is hard, very hard, to identify what it actually is. Sometimes it looks like a 3-5-2, sometimes a 4-3-3, others a 4-1-4-1 – it is not so much Warbs has changed the system, it is more than it is becoming harder to identify what it truly is now. With McKay deployed as a left wing back, the tactic made no sense and that lack of sense and apparent organisation seems to be a real issue. If fans watching cannot make head or tail of what the formation and system is with a superior viewing vantage point, how can the players figure out what their setup is?

With all-conquering Celtic coming up in a few days’ time, Rangers have now had three unconvincing matches in a row – this site gets accused of negativity, personally I would rather call it realism. If you want rainbows and buttercups no matter what is happening on the pitch, please use another site more suited to your needs. The harsh truth is for every step forward Mark Warburton seems to take, he takes another two backwards.

Every time we get a chance to give him real praise, he then makes a hash of it all over again in a new and fascinating way.

Last night he had no answer for modest St Johnstone. Once again Wright outfoxed him over the 90 minutes. Outwith his injury concerns, there appears little hope he will overcome Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic.


  1. I get what you're saying but if we could play like the first 30, even for 60! never mind 90! OMG Celtic will be blown away.
    Lets hope! – Extra cheese for supper and youtube Rangers victories tonight!!!
    Seriously, I predict 2-1 to Rangers as long as Hodson starts. Drop Garner and play Dodoo – Cat amongst the pigeons…That's what we want right?!
    Dodoo to start.

    • Dodoo??!!! Did you see him in the semi when he came on? Contributed nothing, too lightweight at least Garner has physical qualities. Last night, generally, Gers lacked any penetration or inventiveness and were woeful from set plays. Even from most throw ins there was no options! Bad performance, can't see a win at all on Saturday.

  2. dreading the Celtic game and this shouldn't be……..pace will kill us along with our of defensive misgivings.
    Wish and hope for something else but realism says otherwise. The manager is no good and his signings apart from Halliday Holt and Windass have been poor

  3. OK ibrox noise please reply to what i'm about to ask you here,if you don't mind mate.Do you want and think mark warburton should be changed as rangers manager?If yes,who should be the new rangers manager,taking everything into account,ie.there's no massive amounts to spend,we must have murray park working with regards to developing young players for our first team,we have to find gems elsewhere for our first team without spending big dough??

    • Warburton has had money – our playing budget is more than Aberdeen and hearts added together, that is an indisputable fact.

      He has chosen to spread that money around on a squad of average at best players – most of whom were lost souls from his past. Instead of signing a smaller group of higher quality players.

      He has no imagination and no clue. Said it since day one and time is providing the proof.

  4. Nonsense

    How was he "outfoxed"? What exactly did St Johnston offer against us? They went more defensive and crowded the box, they offered nothing going forward and simply frustrated some of our players (look at the stats for shots from outside the box)

    The manager cannot be held responsible for players shooting from distance.

    There is a difference between realistic and pessimistic (this site is starting to veer into defeatist)

    • The manager could perhaps tell them – STOP SHOOTING FROM DISTANCE LADS.

      I assume you either don't understand what outfoxed means or you were too drunk to remember much about the game. Or you may have been dropped as a baby

    • The only time they had ascendancy was when we conceded the goal…..Fotheringham didn't have to do much apart from collect crosses…..we created good chances with poor decisions in the final third…..that isn't the managers fault…..what budget you talking about we don't have the money to go out and spend big

      We are moving in the right direction……..we are in second place beat the teams closest to us…..I hate to admit it but Celtic are far in front with money and their squad but we will get there eventually….Warburton has built a good foundation and I'm sure we will see us get better….there will be blips even when we were at our best in the 90s and 00s we had blips

  5. I thought recently I might be wrong about Warburton and he maybe worth persevering with but not anymore. Kiernan was a disaster at the cup final and he should have been replaced with better quality . If I was on the board I would start planning his replacement now because unfortunately despite all the resources available to him compared to every team in the league bar one he has failed in this league.

    • He has to go, the sooner the better.

      Perhaps if we get another pasting off them, perhaps he might storm off in the huff due to his inability to take any criticism.

      He's the first rangers manager that I can honestly say I don't like. Arrogant and stubborn are forgivable if your really good, he isn't.

  6. Halliday n holt not the answer for midfield no presence in ther to light weight n not got enough quality holt has plenty of effort but Jst lacks the qualities a gers player should have or wat we expect. Halliday very slow can't control middle of park and weak very ordinary player. Kearnan bomb scare cost us to many times now not gd enough. Windass has quality but doesn't seemed to know wen n Wer to use it more effectively. For all the fuss bout garner if he continues not to scored he must be dropped that his job. A don't kno y wen u bring on ohalloran he didn't put him through the middle his strongest position instead puts him out wide Wer he offers very little, as you said another 3 dreadful performances or is it teams are onto the slight changes he's made n he's stuck again? N for me waggy has been our best player along with hodson. Why are they not starting both in my opinion need game time. baffling!!

  7. The 4-3-3 system was a problem. We don't have the players capable of playing in that formation. Not when we face teams that push players forward or counter attack quickly and in numbers.
    Our signing priorities have been shocking. It has been evident that the vast majority of our woes stemmed from our slow centre backs (who are also hopeless defending high balls into our box).
    The BIGGEST problem is playing a solitary slow DM, who can't even tackle, in front of our slow centre backs.
    Because our CB's are slow they play deeper, to try and stop the ball being played in behind them. They are useless in a foot race with quick attackers. They look alright when teams don't press forward. They play a bit further up. But when they face Celtic, or others who press, they have to sit deeper.
    That means there is acres space between the back line and midfield. That space was patrolled by the slow, lightweight, Andy halliday, who can't tackle.
    The task of patrolling that space on your own would test Souness, never mind Halliday. No wonder Barton, who is also slow but can tackle a bit, went ballistic after being asked to do that job at Parkhead. Utter stupidity.
    After the Celtic game we continued on with the same system. It was fine, as usual, when teams didn't press. Terrible when they did.
    At last the penny dropped and MW changed things a bit. He played Hodson at RB and Tav helped Halliday a bit in the middle. Interchanging with Holt. Neither Tav, Holt or Halliday are DMs. Crooks is a recognised DM but continues to sit on the bench. Crooks also has the height that could help the CBs when facing set pieces and high balls into our box. He is no lightweight and is an imposing character too.
    There are problems in midfield and attack too. Some due to injury. Some due to wrong selections. Some due to the system. Most of the problems in these other areas, IMHO, stem from our defensive problems in the CB and DM positions.
    So yet again we have fiddled around. The main problems have not been addressed. Same slow CBs, hopeless in the air. Same slow DM, who can't tackle.
    Celtic now come to Ibrox. They will come with their pressing game and their "air force" for set pieces. Halliday will get steamrolled and we will be in terrible trouble. That feeling of panic, in the pit of our stomach, will be back with a vengeance every time Celtic get a free kick near our goal, or a corner.
    Senderos is the only CB we have who is decent in the air. He was silly to get sent off at Parkhead. But the damage had been done by then. Mostly through Kiernan blunders and MW selection and tactics. Apart from the sending off, Senderos did little wrong.
    If Rangers are to prevent another flogging SENDEROS MUST PLAY. He'll need help in the air and decent cover in front of the CB pairing (Wilson is the best on the deck). Halliday MUST be dropped. CROOKS MUST PLAY and have another DM to partner with in front of the back line.
    Those basic changes should have been made long ago. MW has, largely, failed to learn the lesson handed out at Parkhead. He has done a bit of tinkering and little else.
    Unless Rangers can dominate possession, in the way that they did in last season's SC semi-final, against a very different Celtic side and manager, this will be a long day for Rangers and our support.
    I have no confidence that MW even knows where our problems are stemming from. Let alone knowing how best to address them, given our limited options due to his signings. This is our best set up and team selection. Assuming Wallace will play and the full backs stay at home, mostly. It will be defensively sound and have the pace to cause Celtic big problems, in the acres of space they leave. when the come forward in numbers as they do.


    Hodson, Senderos. Wilson, Wallace:
    Tavernier, Crooks:
    O'Halloran, Windass, McKay:

    Subs: Hill, Forrester, Holt, Garner, Miller, Waghorn.

    With that selection, we can go 4-4-2, or even 4-2-4 if we fall behind.

    Best Wishes to all bears for the game and for 2017.

    • If he doesn't, you will be shitting your pants every time Celtic get a corner or free kick near our penalty box.
      Even if he does play (unlikely) he'd need someone else who is good in the air to help him. Hill is alright in the opponents box. Hopeless in his own. Just like Kiernan and Wilson.
      I don't know if Crooks can "jump", but he certainly has the height and physique to impose himself.

      Regardless of all that. I expect MW to go with one of his usual combinations. Therefore, I expect we will be in deep trouble from high balls into the box.

    • Give it up E-chef. You're like wan a they e-fags!Full a vapour!Why are trying to be a smart arse?Its not big and its not clever.

  8. How has he failed big bear?He's sitting 2nd in the league in case you haven't noticed!He'll only have failed if when the league finishes and god forbid we're not 2nd!But we will be 2nd imo!!

    • With our resources anything other than second is pathetic, have you not noticed how much closer 3rd and 4th are to us than we are to 1st??

    • Robert he has failed in many ways but let me highlight one area. Everyone who saw last years cup final would have recognised how poor our defence was and in particular Kiernan and Tavs but he failed to strengthen our defence instead given the two players extended contracts. I could go and on a striker costing £1.8 million who does not score goals etc

    • Failing to strengthen our defence after the pathetic defending in the cup final was the reason I lost confidence in our manager. I think Garner might come good if he plays alongside a strike partner for a run of games. McCoist and Hateley both took time to settle and bang in the goals before becoming Rangers legends, maybe Garner will do the same! At least he's a grafter and gets stuck in! Kiernan is useless and should never have been given an extended contract, do you think he could be Warbs son? The way he keeps getting picked, I'm starting to wonder!

  9. William mclaren,you say senderos is the best centre half we have in the air!Is clint hill not good in the air in your eyes?He's certainly good in the air in my eyes!!Probably better in the air than senderos,if i'm being honest!

  10. Honestly how can some of the people replying expect to be taken seriously. Defending the indefensible and inability to see reality.

    Warburton is a poor manager at at time when we need a really good one. The sooner he goes and we get someone who is not arrogant and tactically inept, the better.

  11. Sam Allardyce was the outstanding candidate to take over from Warburton when he was out of work and we should have sacked MW and made the change. The father of Big Sam was a Rangers fan and so I think he'd have taken the job on and made us credible challengers. However that ship has sailed as Allardyce is back in work and so we've missed the chance to get a top manager. Reluctantly I think we need to persevere with the dud for now, as there isn't an outstanding candidate to take over at the moment. Warburton should make Kiernan train with the kids and put him on the transfer list and bring in a decent centre half in January. A more ruthless approach similar to the way Souness did things is required, in my view.

  12. Whilst I agree our results are very inconsistant, we are still in second place. A position the Rangers board, fans groups and most (not all!) supporters have accepted to be a good start to the return of the Premiership. It gives us a place in europe and a chance to further build our team with quality. I have watched every single game this season, and its clear we have been blighted by amatuer defending and disgraceful finishing. I have always maintained, Warbuton will not know the required quality until the January window. If you look at the stats against other teams, eg,possession, shots at goal, we are not doing too bad. Its the defensive errors, giving the ball away and poor finishing thats killing us. I'm sure Warbs knows Kiernan isnt good enough and other players. But give him till the end of the season, before we start sacking anybody, its our first season back!, chill out folks, we will get there!

  13. Outfoxed and out-thought? Utter nonsense. Wright made the necessary changes and nullified Barrie McKay in particular and held on for a 1-1 draw at home. It was never going to be an easy game and Rangers should have been 2 or 3 up after 25 minutes and if it wasn't for an inexplicable rush of blood by a defender who has barely put a foot wrong for two months we would have won comfortably. We are a million miles away from being an exceptional team but we will comfortably end up 2nd even if we don't bring in single player in the January transfer window. Warburton has two transfer windows to assemble a team capable of really challenging Celtic next season and he already has half the players there already – Foderingham, Tav, Wallace, Rossiter, Windass, McKay, Waghorn and possibly Holt.

  14. we are 16 adrift, if we lose tomorrow we will be closer to 8th spot than to runaway leaders. Look at this in a simple way:

    ross county- 2 games, 0 wins
    st johnstone- 2 games, 0 wins
    battering at CP
    lucky, last gasp injury time wins against m'well, partick thistle a nd dundee
    at home draw to poor hamilton with wage bill 12+ times less than ours and laboured win over bottom club inverness after own goal with fans booing the team off the park

    stubborn, arrogant, narrow-minded manager who cannot accept a single word of criticism and moaning about everything. dont like this guy and he wasted our, OUR FANS' hard earned season tickets monies for flops like rossiter senderos krancjar barton etc.

    DO YOU REALISE WE HAVE THE MOST EXPENSIVE SEASON TICKET IN THE COUNTRY? Do we get an equivalent for that? iam not talking about stopping celtic because we are not and wont be able to in a few years time given their finances, but we should be closing the gap. are we doing it? dont think so.

  15. hav to agree with Wonder Bet we are papering over the cracks the present set up not up to standard…
    Foderingham………..scary keeper always takes to long to distribute…Replace
    Gilks…………….. not given a decent chance
    Tavernier…………. idiot, who cant defend and always out of position…bin him
    Kiernan…………… hopeless, bin him
    Hill……………… to old now did well on occasions but no pace..thanks bye
    Wallace……………. keep
    Windass……………. keep
    Holt………………. keep
    Halliday…………… keep
    Rossiter…………… injury ravaged, be out game in 2 years, bin now
    Kranjcar…………… will never come back from this injury, bin
    Barton……………… embarrassing….but probably told manager he was shite
    Forrester…………… idiot, always wanting to foul, go away
    Crooks……………… not good enough, looks lost
    Hodson……………… keep
    Millar………………. did really well but again like Hill to old nxt season
    Garner……………….. not impressed strikers should score, he cant!
    Dodoo……………….. baffled why we signed him, dont think he is good enough
    Senderos…………….. not been given a fair chance, deserves a game
    O'Halleron…………… has pace, needs games would actually keep him
    Waghorn………………. sell him he has only one foot.
    Bates…………………. why did we take him from Raith?
    WARBURTON……………… your signings are poor, just like your management ……………………….skills. go away
    Thats my opinion of our team, dont get me wrong Kennt Millar has done really well and will continue to play , but he is 37 now. BUT still our top LEAGUE scorer this season with 4.. yes 4, thats not a Rangers striker's goals tally.

    • I'll reluctantly reserve judgement on the manager until April/May.Simply because I don't think Walter Smith would want to come in either part or full time.I agree with some of your observations but many players have not been given any chance to prove themselves. Tactics are very questionable at times and maybe that is the reason for very poor consistency in performance. The two games against Hearts a good example.We are recruiting in competition with FA League One clubs.Easy to forget this fact.Two hard defenders and a tall goal scoring striker should be priorities in January. Loans are the only way of getting them.If we are second at end of the season it would be significant especially if we close on the leaders. I expect a win tomorrow, always an optimist. Celtic have won a helluva lot of games by one goal and late on at that. Won't last for ever.Tomorrow could be that day. It could also set Rangers up for a great five month run that would change everything.
      If Tavernier is at right back tomorrow I will put blindfolds on for the whole game. I'd play Hodson there with a broken leg first.

  16. As long as we have poor sponsorship deals and the merchandise income is tied up by fatshley it's going to b very difficult to compete consistently and challenge the manky mob for title. The way the club is getting ran at the moment season ticket money will b drip fed to support the running of Murray park,ibrox, staff, management n players really has to go a long way so they can't afford to go that xtra mile till there's more income coming in. As much as I'm getting fed up with the form of the team think we've got to settle for this this season n hopefully things will start to clear up as we get to next season on merchandise n sponsors etc then wee can't really push on can't b to hasty the now funds have to go a long way. Hopefully they go out against the manky mob n put on gd solid performance no matter the outcome al b happy. WATP!!

  17. It's a long shot and it probably won't happen, but does anyone else think that our best chance of scoring tomorrow is to use O'Halleron up front? We could defend deep to compensate for our lack of pace at the back and hit it long for O'Halleron to use his pace to outrun the filth's defenders and shoot at goal, Jamie Vardy style! I'm not his biggest fan and he probably isn't a good enough finisher, but we need to try something different to put them in their place! Our strikers haven't been any use all season, so maybe we should try something that they won't be expecting! I'd also play Senderos alongside Wilson, if that dud Kiernan is selected after Wednesday night's performance it will be a disgrace!

  18. Cud b an option bt I think that wud only work if it was 2 up front for sum1 for him to play off garner wud b perfect cos I really don't think ohallorans got it to play with his back to the defender the ball like a hot tattie wen he's under pressure n has a poor first touch but then again reminds me of lovenkrands n Miller at that age. Senderos won't play that's a definite unless he plays 3 centres n 2 wing back in hodson n Wallace if fit.

    • I meant with either Garner or Miller alongside him to play off and my first choice was Garner. He reminds me of Lovenkrands and Miller at that age as well and that's why I think it might work in an old firm game, when we don't have as much possession and can hit on the break. Sickened by the result!

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