How Mark Warburton allowed Rangers' summer signing Joe Garner to prove himself at last

Rangers manager Mark Warburton

Garner is yet to find the back of the net on a regular basis north of the border but more displays like this and they won't be far away.

Joe Garner departed the Ibrox turf to a standing ovation in the 88th minute of Rangers’ 2-0 triumph over Hearts on Saturday.

That he didn’t score didn’t matter – in terms of commitment and work ethic, Garner did his bit.

At times, he looked the part to. Something you certainly could not have claimed about the vast majority of his performances in the famous Royal Blue so far.

Since arriving from Preston North End in the summer for a hefty £1.8 million, according to the Daily Record, the 28-year-old has located the back of the net just 3 times in 14 Scottish Premiership appearances.

But to blame Garner alone for his ongoing profligacy would be short sighted. The man himself confirmed that he was struggling to adapt to the pretty, pass-and-move principles of manager Mark Warburton, especially after making his name as the spearhead of Simon Grayson’s physical Preston North End.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton

Yet, against Hearts at the weekend, there were signs that the former Brentford boss was starting to supplement his tried and tested Plan A with something a little more alternative – much to the benefit of his marquee summer signing.

A matter of weeks after Rangers were ran ragged by the pace and directness of their opponents at Tynecastle, Warburton turned the tables and, at long last, allowed Garner to offer glimpses of the ability that underpinned his 27 goals in 2014/15.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton

With the wily, experienced Kenny Miller in the link-man role and The Gers unusually direct, Garner could finally be himself in blue. Leading the line, harrying defenders and dominating the aerial battle, this is exactly why Rangers signed him. And it looks like Warburton has realised that at last.

“That was brilliant,” Garner gushed of the crowd’s reaction as he departed with his head held high, as reported by the club’s official website. “The fans are top-drawer every week, and it was a 50,000 sell-out today. Hopefully, they all go home happy and have a good weekend.”

Rangers' Joe Garner celebrates

No doubt they will. And so will their new centre-forward, safe in the knowledge that the 10th of December could be the making of him in a Rangers shirt. Now just to add a few goals…

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