BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs admits he is not surprised that Mark Warburton has transformed Rangers after claiming it is ‘very easy’ to build a stronger squad when you have money to spend.
The Leith side travel to Ibrox for Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Championship clash between two teams that hope to be in contention for the title at the end of the season.
Rangers landed the first blow in July when they won an absorbing Petrofac Training Cup tie 6-2.
The much-changed Govan outfit are also living up to their billing as league favourites after racking up eight goals in their first two wins over St Mirren and Alloa in the second tier.
There is no love lost between the two sides after Hibs rejected three unwelcome bids for midfielder Scott Allan, who moved to Celtic last week.
And Stubbs, who has seen Warburton recruit the likes of former Wigan trio Martyn Waghorn, James Tavernier and Rob Kiernan and ex-Hearts captain Danny Wilson, admits Rangers are now a better side due to the money they’ve spent.
He said: “It’s very easy when you’ve got money to spend to bring in much better players than what was there at the start.
“Rangers have started the season strongly, they’ve started well.
“When you buy good players, which they’ve obviously brought in, sometimes it does not necessarily take a long a time (to gel).
“Compared to where they are last season to now, it is a transformation of the squad but they’ve spent a lot of money as well.
“Their start to the season has been very strong, there is no denying that and we’ve seen from their second half performance against us that when things go their way, they can be a dangerous team.
“But for the first 45 minutes, if anyone looks at the game, we showed we can be a dangerous team as well.
“I think the most important thing is that we perform and play to the best of our abilities. If we do that then we know we’re capable of getting a result.”
Hibs got off to the worst possible start in the league after being beaten at Dumbarton on the opening day but Stubbs’ side collected their first win against Morton at the weekend.
The former Celtic defender is now hoping his team can build momentum by inflicting Warburton’s first set-back as Rangers manager.
Speaking to Hibs TV, he added: “As long as we’re picking up results that’s the most important thing, it’s going to be a long season.
“We want to be as consistent as possible, there will be times when we’re in a rich vein of form and there will be times when we need to roll our sleeves up because that’s what champions do.
“That’s what we will have to encounter as the season goes on.”