Warburton: Rangers never in any doubt this season would be tougher

Ross Houston
August 8, 2016

Rangers winger Barrie McKay could not hide his disappointment at the failure to open the Premiership campaign with a win over Hamilton Accies after a 1-1 draw.

The home faithful had waited four years to see their team reclaim their place in the top flight following their 2012 meltdown.

Martyn Waghorn rescued a point for Mark Walburton's side after Ali Crawford stunned the home faithful with a 30th-minute opener.

The Englishman has made nine additions and has called for the players to step up.

"This is the next level - the next level of player, the next level of demand and it's a different challenge", Warburton said.

Rangers nearly marked the start of the new season with a goal in the third minute but Andy Halliday's left-footed strike was well saved by on-loan goalkeeper Remi Matthews.

Martyn Waghorn scored an equaliser after the break, but Rangers will rue their failure to find a victory that would have put early pressure on rivals Celtic, who face a tricky trip to Hearts on Sunday.

Anton Kurakins slung a low ball to the back post but Kranjcar's decision to dive in on the Accies forward proved costly as he cut back onto his left foot before sweeping a delightful finish into the top corner.

A humbling 3-1 defeat to English club Burnley over the weekend has convinced the Rangers boss that he needs to add to his squad.

But Martin Canning's visitors were not making life easy.

McKay was full of praise for the summer's new signings, including Joey Barton.

However, Warburton's decision to hook the ineffective Kranjcar and replace him with Harry Forrester on the hour mark paid off nearly immediately.

Joey Barton won the ball in midfield and fed the former Doncaster playmaker, whose ball over the top was ideal for Waghorn to pounce on for the leveller.

"There's a long way to go in the season and I'm always disappointed to drop two points but we'll learn a lot from today's game".

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