Rangers manager Mark Warburton has denied that Light Blues winger Michael O’Halloran is on the verge of joining Motherwell on loan until the end of the season.
Warburton, addressing pressmen immediately after his team’s dramatic 2-1 William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round win over the Steelmen on Saturday, said that the threadbare nature of his squad makes O’Halloran’s departure unlikely.
“I read all these stories about where O’Halloran is going and what I’ve agreed to,” he said.
“It’s complete news to me.
“From my point of view, I had 18 players today.
“We were down to bare numbers. So I’m not letting players go out unless I get players in.”
Warburton felt his team merited Saturday’s win, despite only turning it around in the final eight minutes.
“I thought we deserved to win the game of football,” he said.
“We found ourselves 1-0 down with 15 minutes to go so that was the harsh reality of it.
“Before they scored we worked the ball well, moved it well and passed it well. But we never penetrated, we never tested the keeper enough and we didn’t have enough bravery in the final third.
“But all the time they (Motherwell) were working and the cramp of the boy (’Well ace Chris Cadden who was substituted late on) highlighted that.
“Motherwell are very well organised, well drilled, well marshalled.
“And they are hard to break down. The goals came late because that’s when the players tire, that’s when the opportunities open up.
“Again two late goals is credit to the team, to their fitness and desire.”
Warburton was asked whether or not he felt his side should have had a penalty for Stevie Hammell’s challenge on O’Halloran after 37 minutes.
“I haven’t had the chance to see contact on the replays,” Warburton said.
“It was great feet by O’Halloran in a tight area and I thought there was the element of a penalty.
“They’re the type of decisions that when they’re given, a team goes 1-0 down to Rangers at home, it changes the whole complexion of the game.”
The Rangers gaffer had real concerns about his troops turning the game around after going 1-0 behind to Louis Moult’s headed goal after 74 minutes.
He added: “I said to Davie Weir (Rangers assistant manager): ‘there’s a big 12 minutes here’.
“We weren’t really penetrating. We were going backwards and square too often.
“But they were working. Every time we shifted the ball they were working and working to maintain their shape.
“Once we got the goal I felt very strongly that we would definitely triumph because they were out on their feet.
“But they are a good team. They work hard, they’re well organised and they’ve got quality.
“We knew they’d get one or two chances. That’s the nature of the game.
“They got their chance – great headed goal, great finish and Wes pulled off a good save as well so there’s no doubting the quality of Motherwell.”