Expectations were sky high when Rangers made their comeback to the Scottish Premiership after being absent from the first tier for four long years. Three promotions in four years took the Glasgow giants back to where they belonged. Mark Warburton took charge of the Gers last summer and won the Championship pretty much convincingly to make the most successful club in Scotland come back to the first tier.
Rangers performed out of their skin last season and Warburton was quite busy in the transfer market to add true quality and experience to the squad which made everyone think that the Gers have what it takes to take down Celtic’s mantle in the Premiership. Even if they do not manage to win the Premiership, it was thought that Rangers would definitely put a strong fight. However, after eight game weeks, it seems like Celtic will have another walk in the park for the title.
Warburton should have done better in the transfer market
Financially saying, Warburton did an excellent job in the transfer market with less resources at his disposal. Out of the Englishman’s 11 summer signings, 9 were free transfers while deals for Lee Hodson and Joe Garner involved fees. Warburton got in quality players like Barton and Kranjcar who are rich with top-level experience while he also got in quality young players like Rossiter and Windass.
However, we are yet to see anyone of Warburton’s summer signings making a strong bid for a first team place so far. We have seen players like Halliday, Wilson, Kiernan, Tavernier et al overshadowing the summer signings on the pitch. So, a question that will definitely arise in our minds will be ‘Did Warburton sacrifice quality for quantity?’ The answer is a big yes!
Is Warburton getting his tactics wrong?
In their highly successful season in the Championship last time out, Rangers mostly played 4-3-3 but it was thought that Warburton will tweak his tactics this campaign in order to get the best out of his new signings. However, that has not been the case. Rangers have stuck to 4-3-3 this season even though the results have been disappointing.
Why waste the abilities of a gifted creative midfielder Niko Kranjcar by playing him deep? Why deploy the best striker you have got on the flanks? There are too many questions over Warburton’s tactical approach to the game and his team selection.
Things can certainly improve for the Gers in coming weeks, though. But a title challenge seems very farfetched now. Warburton has to learn from the mistakes he made in the early days of the season in order to contend for a top three finish.