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Waghorn's loving life as Gers go more direct under Caixinha

 

By Gavin McCafferty

Rangers striker Martyn Waghorn is enjoying Pedro Caixinha's more direct style of play after feeling they "overplayed" under Mark Warburton.

Caixinha stated he wanted Rangers to be more aggressive in the final third and attack the ball in the box and has given Waghorn a key role, starting the forward in all four matches so far.

Waghorn endured a frustrating start to his second season at Ibrox, only scoring two Ladbrokes Premiership goals from the time he injured his hamstring after netting in the season opener against Morton until Warburton left in February. He has netted five goals in all competitions since.

And the former Leicester and Wigan striker said: "I think at times we did try and overplay.

"The manager wants us, when we play through lines to stay through lines, and attack the box as quickly as we can.

"As a striker, it is nice to know we are going to be getting the ball in the box and get chances.

"So, it's a better, quicker, direct style of play which all the forward boys are going to enjoy."

Waghorn admitted he could have done better when given chances under Warburton, although when asked if he was given a fair crack of the whip, the 27-year-old said: "Yes and no.

"Obviously that's probably down to me, I maybe wasn't match-fit, maybe didn't warrant a place in the team and it's down to me to get back in it.

"It was an accumulation of a few different things but personally I was disappointed with how I performed in the first half of the season, I think I could have done a lot better when I got my chance.

"For one reason or other I didn't take it. But that's in the past now, I am pleased that I am playing, getting a run of games, and hopefully I can stay in the side for the new manager."

Rangers have been given a fresh injection of hope that they can catch Aberdeen in the race for second place after their 3-0 victory at Pittodrie on Sunday, which cut the gap to nine points.

And Waghorn believes hard work and Caixinha's new methods have helped.

Speaking ahead of today's visit of Partick Thistle, he said: "It's been challenging in different ways but the boys have bought into it very well. The training methods, the style, how he wants to approach games, the analysis of other teams, has been different to what we are used to, but I've loved every minute of it.

"I have enjoyed the hard work and I think it has shown at the weekend how we defend as a team now as well as attacking as a team.

"We have changed a lot, little things that we have worked on the training pitch, but it's for the right reasons and hopefully it's good for a change going forward."

When asked what the most challenging aspect was, Waghorn said: "The level of intensity. Training from Monday to Friday is hard graft, different for all the boys, but over time the boys are getting used to it.

"He has brought a lot of different aspects to training but it's been a good challenge and all the boys are enjoying it."

Meanwhile, Michael O'Halloran started for Rangers Under-20s in their 4-0 defeat by Celtic on Friday afternoon, before being replaced by 15-year-old Billy Gilmour in the 62nd minute.

Caixinha revealed former St Johnstone winger O'Halloran would not be in his squad to face Thistle after missing another development league game on Monday, adding that the "internal affair" had been resolved.

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