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Garner's critics are so short-sighted, blasts furious Rangers boss Warburton

Scottish Premiership: Hearts v Rangers, Tynecastle, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Ronnie Esplin

Rangers boss Mark Warburton has mounted a stout defence of his most expensive summer signing Joe Garner.

The 28-year-old striker has come in for increasing criticism after scoring only three goals in 12 appearances since his £1.8million move from Preston.

Former Gers winger and current Sky Sports pundit Neil McCann, in a general criticism of Warburton's signing policy, was quoted as describing Garner as being "in the wrong movie".

Ahead of the trip to Tynecastle tonight, where Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson could possibly be in charge for the last time as he ponders a switch to MK Dons, the Light Blues boss said: "How many games has Joe played or started for Rangers? And look at the sample size.

"Joe is only starting his career here, people are too quick to judge. He has come out of a different formation of course, but how many games has he played?

"I am disappointed at certain comments. Give the player the chance to settle in. To judge him so quickly is very short-sighted. He is doing well, adapting, he offers a different side to the game.

"His movement, physicality, he is aerially strong in both boxes, a good first touch, he is an experienced goalscorer with a bright future ahead of him at Rangers.

"We are delighted to get Joe but people need to give players time to settle in. Sometimes players hit the ground running, sometimes it takes a few games. I have no doubts about Joe."

Garner was replaced by Joe Dodoo against Partick Thistle on Saturday and watched from the bench as the 21-year-old summer signing from Leicester scored twice to give Rangers a 2-1 win.

While not revealing if Dodoo would get the nod over Garner for the trip to Tynecastle, Warburton said: "I was told previously that Joe Dodoo hadn't worked, another failed signing apparently and now the same people are writing magnificent Joe Dodoo.

"They are too short-sighted. Their comments change too quickly. You have to give players time to settle. I was delighted for Joe, he came on and did what we know he can do, he trains so well every day, it is nice to have that type of (selection) problem."

Warburton insists Neilson's possible move to MK Dons will have no impact on their clash.

The Gers boss, who managed Neilson at Brentford, believes the Hearts players will not lose focus as they look for the win that will take them above the Ibrox side and Aberdeen into second place.

He said: "I am impressed with Robbie and he has a bright career ahead I am sure but I am only focused on Rangers and he will deal with what he has to deal with.

"It is an important game and I am sure their focus will be as equally as strong as ours."

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