Warburton: Players responded to harsh words at half-time

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Interviews - Mark Warburton & Stephen Aitken

Mark Warburton revealed that harsh words with his players at half-time inspired them to an emphatic victory over Dumbarton.

Goals from Jason Holt, Martyn Waghorn, Nathan Oduwa and Andy Halliday secured a 4-0 win which moved Rangers three points clear of Hibernian at the top of the Championship.

"We had words at half-time and it was night and day," Warburton said.

"It was four goals and we could have got more."

The game was goalless at the interval, and Warburton - who has been linked with the vacant manager's job at Fulham - sent his players back out early to make amends for their first-half display.

'Sending out a statement'

He believes that the win, coupled with Saturday's Petrofac Training Cup semi-final win over St Mirren, sends out a message about his side's strength of will.

"I wasn't so pleased with the first-half," Warburton said. "We dominated possession but we were loose, sloppy and didn't move it quickly enough.

"We wanted to start hard and fast because we dropped our standards in the first-half.

"It's all very well having possession, but you want to punish the opposition, which we didn't do. We were ready to go to work [after the interval] and we started very brightly.

"It's about sending out a statement. There were comments about how do you stop the crisis. Wow. Saturday was very good, tonight was very good, so we hope the message is really clear.

"Talk is cheap. Actions always speak far louder than words. Everything is now geared towards Raith [on Saturday].

Stevie Aitken felt the gulf in fitness between Rangers and his side was a major factor in the defeat
Stevie Aitken felt the gulf in fitness between Rangers and his side was a major factor in the defeat

The Dumbarton manager Stevie Aitken felt his players were disciplined and industrious in the first-half, but could not bridge the gap between the fitness of full-time and part-time training.

"In the first-half we gave a really good account of ourselves," Aitken said. "We had chances and a penalty shout, the plan was working well. But the full-time [fitness] is a big advantage at this level and Rangers showed their strengths.

"We were wasteful in possession, which isn't like us. We had chances to get passes going and didn't do it, but I can't fault the players' effort. They're shattered in there. Willie Gibson's down with cramp. That's the difference between full-time and part-time.

"It's sore, you don't like losing that many goals, but you have to be realistic how big a club Rangers are. These games will not decide our season."