AS his Rangers team-mates were re-establishing a three-point lead at the top of the table by putting the squeeze on Dumbarton, Danny Wilson’s priorities lay with helping his partner, Cheryl, through the 17-hour labour which safely delivered their first son, Roman.

Since then, the 23-year-old centre-back has been given special dispensation to miss the occasional team meeting at Murray Park should family duties call.

Mark Warburton, the Rangers manager, may be very particular about where his players have to be and when, but he insists there is good reason for the rules being relaxed when one of them finds himself in the centre of a major life event. It is, he says, about encouraging loyalty.

“Our job is to make sure look after our player because I think he will remember how he was looked after,” he said. “We hope that will make Danny’s affinity with the club ever stronger.

“What goes around comes around. If you look after people, respect them, communicate well, it should stand you in good stead. If someone abuses it, they shouldn’t be here.

“Danny is working hard and you can see that, physically, he is in great shape. He will enjoy his new arrival, look after his wife and I have no doubt he will perform well on the pitch for us.”

Such willingness to offer time off to attend to nappy-changing and suchlike, it seems fair to say, has not always been the way of things in football.

“Phil Neville tells a great story about that,” laughs Warburton. “I think it revolves around the question: ‘Is the mother-in-law sick or something?’

“Times are changing and the way you deal with players is changing because it’s a different breed coming through now. There are different requirements and different demands.”

Wilson is in a rush to head home to his domestic duties as we speak. The life of a new father is such a whirlwind and he admits he is suffering from a touch of fatigue, but he insists his new responsibilities will not be permitted to take his focus away from re-establishing himself in the Rangers side and

“I’m tired, but it’s great,” he said. “I’ve been hands-on and enjoying it.

“People say you’ll be tired, but I don’t want to have that excuse, so I want to meet that challenge head-on, to be good through the week and on the Saturday.

“Life’s changed. I may have a job at home, but I’ve got a job here as well.

“I'm doing everything I can to be as good a dad as I can be, but I’m preparing myself as well as I can to be the best footballer I can be as well.”

Of course, Warburton places great emphasis on his players’ preparation for matches. Sleep patterns are part of that. What happens when a baby less than a week old, as they are wont to do, throws a spanner in the works?

“I have had two kids,” said Warburton. “Some sleep through the night and some are crying every half-an-hour. What we have to do is liaise with the player.

“He will come and train and, if he misses a meeting to go away and look after his family, that is what we have to do.

“Our job is to look at what Danny needs.

“It is the most important time with the family. If you get that one wrong with the wife, she will never forgive you. That’s for sure.”

Wilson has lost his place in the first-team recently to on-loan Tottenham Hotspur defender, Dominic Ball. He picked up a knock during the international break in October and has only managed two starts since.

“I picked up an injury at an unfortunate time,” he said. “I could complain, but I would have no cause to do so because Rob (Kiernan) and Dom have not done anything to deserve to be dropped.

“You know Dom had to bide his time. I have no doubts that, given time, I will be back in, but it would be disrespectful of me to him to kick up a fuss.”

Wilson was part of a Hearts side that ran away with the Scottish Championship last season. Hibernian are making sure that he will have it nowhere near as easy with Rangers, but he is clear when asked whether the challenge being mounted by Alan Stubbs’ side will make the Ibrox side sharper and hungrier.

“I think so,” he said. “Hibs are on a great run and the gap that we have has closed by five points.

“Our performances have picked up over the last couple of games and we have been getting good results again. We are top of the league, but we still know that we can do better.”

The Ibrox outfit meet third-placed Falkirk and Hibernian in their next two games. Warburton realises both matches will represent stern tests, but insists he is comfortable with his own’s side state of being going into them.

“I keep hearing about great runs of form by other clubs, but we’re top with a far superior goal difference,” he said. “We’re very conscious of other teams putting runs together, but we’re in great shape.

“There’s no point in looking at the Hibs game on the 28th if you drop points in the meantime.”

Much of last week’s media coverage of Rangers focused on the remarks being made about Hibernian head coach, Stubbs, and his insistence that the Easter Road club’s recent form has got inside the minds of Warburton and his squad.

“I got a phone call from someone asking how I am sleeping with the mind games,” said the Rangers boss. “Very well. Really well, if that gives you any clue.

“It is great to see, I am sure, and it fills a few inches in the paper, but I am not sure what constitutes mind games.

“If he says we are looking over our shoulder, worried sick and losing sleep, there are no bags under my eyes at the moment, but maybe another time.”