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Rangers boss Mark Warburton backs Michael O'Halloran to be a big hit at Ibrox

Raith Rovers 0-1 Rangers

By Andy Newport

Published 03/02/2016

Eye on the ball: Andy Halliday battles with Scott Robertson
Eye on the ball: Andy Halliday battles with Scott Robertson

Rangers manager Mark Warburton insists deadline-day signing Michael O'Halloran will only get better after a quiet Light Blues debut.

The former St Johnstone man was given a 26-minute run-out off the bench during Gers' narrow 1-0 win at Raith Rovers just 24 hours after sealing his £500,000 switch from Perth, but apart from one darting run and cross, there was not much to get excited about as Warburton's team struggled after the break.

The manager, though, believes his new capture will quickly get to grips with the demands of playing for the Scottish Championship leaders.

He said: "It was a long day for Michael yesterday and he hadn't trained with us yet.

"He met the boys for the first time today so I'm sure he was happy to get a football kit on again.

"He will train with us now, get used to the way we want to play and the demands we want from him. There will be more to come from him."

Rangers dominated the opening period, but had to wait until a minute before half-time for their opener.

Andy Halliday tucked away the winner from James Tavernier's cut-back as he marked his return from suspension with his sixth goal of the campaign.

The midfield anchorman - who was given a rare run-out in a more advanced position - was sent off against Morton last week after collecting a controversial second yellow for aiming a first-pump at the Cappielow support while lapping up a Barrie McKay goal, but he kept his celebrations more restrained this time, sharing some ironic handshakes with his colleagues as he made sure he stayed out of trouble.

"Andy made that outrageous mistake of celebrating a goal again - so hopefully he'll get away with this one," joked Warburton. "It was fine, when you score a goal to win a game you have to enjoy it."

Rangers were far less assured after the break and were lucky to see referee Euan Anderson blow for a foul against Dean Shiels by Lewis Toshney before on-loan Leicester forward Harry Panayiotou volleyed into their net.

"I thought we were very good in the first half and we were disappointed not to get more goals because we were dominant," added Warburton, whose side remain eight points ahead of rivals Hibs.

"In the second half the wind was gusting, it was a difficult surface which was cutting up and it wasn't as good, but we were comfortable and dominated possession.

"These are the places you have to come and win. There are 13 games to play, suddenly you realise how quickly the season is going. The rest of the season will fly by now.

"People are asking about Hibs and Falkirk but it doesn't matter. It's about Rangers, if we keep winning games of football we'll be fine."

raith ROVERS: Cuthbert, Bates, Toshney, Benedictus, McKeown, Davidson, Robertson, Connolly, Callachan (Craigen 60, Anderson 75), Longridge, Stewart (Panayiotou 60).

Subs not used: Thomson, McCord, Matthews, Law.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Danny Wilson, Wallace, Ball, Miller (O'Hallaran 64), Zelalem (Shiels 72), Halliday, McKay (Forrester 63), Waghorn.

Goals: Halliday 44

Subs not used: King, Bell, Law, Clark.

Man of the match: Halliday (pictured)

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Euan Anderson

Belfast Telegraph

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