Rangers boss believes comments about Niko Kranjcar's fitness stung the Croatian

Burnley's Andre Gray in action with Rangers' Niko Kranjcar

Mark Warburton was speaking after Rangers beat Peterhead 5-0 at Ibrox.

Burnley's Andre Gray in action with Rangers' Niko KranjcarBurnley's Andre Gray in action with Rangers' Niko Kranjcar

Rangers got back to winning ways in the Betfred Cup last night. After drawing 1-1 with Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership opener at the weekend they put Peterhead to the sword in the cup – winning 5-0.

A shock brace from Rangers new defender Clint Hill, an own goal by Celtic loanee Fiacre Kelleher and Joe Dodoo’s second Rangers goal gave them the win – along with a great long-range drive from Niko Kranjcar.

Niko Kranjcar - Queens Park Rangers on the benchNiko Kranjcar

The Croatian was criticised by some Rangers fans and football pundits after his performance against Hamilton at the weekend but he also set up two goals in a brilliant performance at Ibrox last night.

Rangers boss Mark Warburton believes that the criticism that has been directed his way is unfair. He is quoted by Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra as stating:

"Niko is working really hard.

"I think a few people's comments stung him, if I'm honest, because he is working hard.

Rangers manager Mark WarburtonRangers manager Mark Warburton

"I don't think he's been challenged for a long period of time. So to get back to where he needs to get to is through hard work and he's putting the work in, there's no doubt about his quality and you'll see the best of Niko very soon I'm sure."

The Croatian midfielder struggled to have any impact for Rangers in a poor performance v Hamilton and was eventually subbed off for Harry Forrester – who put in a much more dynamic performance.

It appears that the former Spurs playmaker is simply in need of more and more competitive football. If he can continue to trim down and get back his cardio ability then Rangers fans will have a gem at Ibrox.

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