Rangers: Mark Warburton says 'Judge me in May, not on Old Firm results'

Rangers boss Mark Warburton
Mark Warburton says he should be judged on where Rangers finish in the league

Rangers manager Mark Warburton believes he should be judged on their league position at the end of the season - not his side's results against Celtic.

The Ibrox side lost the opening Old Firm derby of the season 5-1 and the League Cup semi-final at Hampden.

"It has to be where we finish," said Warburton in response to what he should be judged on.

"I understand [the comparisons to Celtic] and please don't think for one second I'm understating it."

Warburton has guided his side to promotion last season and now to second spot in the Scottish Premiership before Saturday's Old Firm derby at Ibrox.

"But, at the end of the season come May, where do Rangers come in the league?" he said.

"We spoke at the beginning of the season about being highly competitive and learning and gelling as a team over the course of the season.

"So, if we do that and grab second spot, will we have had a good season? You tell me."

Celtic moved 16 points clear of Rangers following a 2-0 victory at home to Ross County on 28 December, while Rangers drew 1-1 with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar in action for Rangers
Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar will be missing from Rangers' midfield this time

The Rangers team for the first derby to be staged at Ibrox in four-and-a-half years will be much-changed from the team thumped at Celtic Park.

Joey Barton has left the club, fellow midfielder Niko Kranjcar has been sidelined through injury, while defender Philippe Senderos has barely been trusted to play after a poor debut that day.

"That was game five of the season - we've moved on from there," said Warburton. "We brought in a number of players, but there are players who won't be present this time.

"We've gelled as a squad. We are where we are in the league, but we're delivering highly-competitive performances.

"Are we a better team than we were at the start of the season? Of course we are.

"When you've got new players coming in who have only played four games, of course you're going to be better.

"We're always striving to be better, but we're in a good place right now."

Warburton also believes his team has now developed the mental strength required to cope with Saturday's fixture.

"Playing for a club of this stature, whether you are a senior pro or a young player, it takes time to learn how to deal with it," he added.

"It takes time to understand how to deal with it when it's 0-0 after 20 minutes and the boos start.

"But we have a squad which is doing that. We're 19 games in - we're in a better position."

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