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Ranger hit the summit but Warburton wants more

Rangers 1-0 Hibernian

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 24/08/2015

Full stretch: Rangers' Martyn Waghorn (right) and Hibernian goalkeeper Mark Oxley battle for the ball at Ibrox
Full stretch: Rangers' Martyn Waghorn (right) and Hibernian goalkeeper Mark Oxley battle for the ball at Ibrox

Mark Warburton refused to ignore Rangers' shortcomings despite the 1-0 win over Hibernian at Ibrox taking them back to the top of the Ladbrokes Championship with a six-point gap over their Easter Road rivals after only three games.

Warburton's side had beaten Hibs 6-2 in their Petrofac Training Cup encounter at the start of the season but right-back James Tavernier's dipping free-kick from outside the box in the 65th minute was enough to separate the teams on this occasion and make it six successive wins in all competitions for the home side since the former Brentford boss took over in the summer.

However, the Englishman recognised that Hibs had more than enough chances to take something from an open match.

Warburton, who confirmed he has signed Arsenal youngster Gedion Zelalem on a loan deal until January, with the possibility of extending it if all goes well, said: "Whether you beat the top of the table or the bottom of the table team it is just three points.

"And you have to recognise that we fell below the level expected at certain times today.

"We have to analyse that and that is the beauty of this squad, they are keen to do that.

"It would be too easy to say 'three points, thanks very much', and move on.

"I thought we were loose and made some poor decisions, we didn't take care in the final third, but we will learn from it and be a better team for it."

On Tavernier's strike which flew in under the crossbar, the Gers manager added: "It is a tremendous goal. He is a very talented player."

Warburton revealed that 18-year-old midfielder Zelalem will commence training with his new team-mates today.

"He was watching the game today in the stand," he said.

"He will be training with us tomorrow and will be part of the squad.

"I am delighted to get hold of him. I would like to welcome him on board. He is another young, very talented player."

Hibs boss Alan Stubbs left Ibrox wondering how his side emerged pointless after creating "six or seven" chances.

The former Celtic defender said: "For long periods of the game we did very well and how we have not scored is frustrating, especially after creating the clear chances that we did.

"And when you look at it, that's the difference between winning and losing games.

"I thought our game plan was working really well, we frustrated them but goals change games and we had good chances when it was 0-0 and you have to take them. You have to be clinical."

Stubbs understood why Dylan McGeouch, signed from Celtic this week after a loan spell at Easter Road last season, was aggrieved to be punished by referee Steven McLean for the free-kick which Tavernier converted.

McGeouch was flagged for handball outside the penalty area, on the left-hand side.

Tavernier stepped up and fired his shot high over the defensive wall and in under the crossbar.

It was his fourth of the season and the second free-kick against Hibs.

Stubbs said: "I can see why. It is very difficult sometimes to get out of the way of a ball coming at you at speed.

"It is a bit harsh but you will find that some referees give them and some don't."

RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace, Holt (Shiels 68), Halliday, Law, McKay (Oduwa 60), Waghorn, Miller (Clark 83)

Subs not used: Ball, Kelly, Hardie, Walsh

Booked: Wilson, Law

HIBERNIAN: Oxley, Gray (McGeouch 50), Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, McGinn, Fyvie, Boyle, Henderson (Stanton 89), Carmichael (Malonga 77), Cummings

Subs not used: Bartley, Reguero, Dunsmore, Martin

Booked: Stevenson, McGinn, Fyvie

Goal: Tavernier 66

Man of the match: Tavernier

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Steven McLean

Belfast Telegraph

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