Rangers: Mark Warburton says 'no quick fix' to narrow gap on Celtic


Mark Warburton left Rangers joint second in the Premiership, 24 points behind Celtic

Ex-Rangers boss Mark Warburton says things “won’t happen overnight” as the club look to narrow the gap on Celtic.

The Ibrox club are 35 points adrift of the already-crowned Scottish champions and 12 points behind second-placed Aberdeen with seven games left.

Warburton left Ibrox in controversial circumstances on 10 February, with Pedro Caixinha taking over on 11 March.

“You have to have strong foundations. There is no quick fix,” Warburton told BBC Sport.

“You can’t go and buy a £10m striker and hope it works. You have to recognise there is a job at hand and it won’t happen overnight.”

Warburton was appointed manager of English Championship side Nottingham Forest last month, with his former Rangers assistant David Weir alongside him and the Glasgow’s club’s former head of recruitment, Frank McParland, installed as Forest’s director of football.

Rangers announced late on Friday, 10 February, that they had accepted the trio’s resignations, with Warburton later releasing a statement via the League Managers Association (LMA) saying “that at no stage did we resign from our positions at Rangers”.

Premiership table on 10/02/17 Current Premiership table
1 Celtic P 23 Pts 67 1 Celtic P 31 Pts 87
2 Aberdeen P23 Pts 43 2 Aberdeen P 31 Pts 64
3 Rangers P24 Pts 43 3 Rangers P 31 Pts 52

The 54-year-old Londoner refused to elaborate on the manner of his departure, with Rangers chairman Dave King saying the trio had come to an agreement to leave via their joint representative.

“These things happen but it is part and parcel of life I guess – it is never boring in football, is it?” Warburton said.

“The fact is we have kept our counsel. What happened, happened on that evening. The LMA produced a statement on our behalf which was hopefully well received, and we have kept our counsel ever since.

“I think the wise thing to do now is maintain counsel, maintain exactly the same stance. There is a legal process under way. We will just keep quiet and see how it develops.”

Warburton stressed he had learned “many good things, some different things” from his 20 months as Rangers manager, which he regards as a “tremendous honour” and a “great experience”.

Warburton guided Rangers to promotion from the Championship and victory in the Challenge Cup

“I will never be derogatory about Rangers Football Club, far from it,” he added. “We had the promotion [from the Championship], which was non-negotiable, to use the club’s term.

“We had the Petrofac Training Cup [Scottish Challenge Cup] success at Hampden; we had the Scottish Cup final [a 3-2 defeat by Hibernian].

“It always hurts to lose a cup final but it was a great occasion and we had some good successes along the way – the semi-final against Celtic [won on penalties] will always go down in the memory.

“When we left, I think we were one point off second place, and second for the bulk of it, and in good shape. So I think we have to say from our perspective, it was a successful time. We enjoyed it and we just wish the club well going forward.

“The rivalry is intense up there. You have a band of Rangers fans who have been brought up on domestic and European success.

“Quite understandably the expectation is so high at such a fantastic club, but you have to be realistic. Celtic have had Champions League football for the past few years, they have built the club, they have a sound financial base and it will take time.”

You can watch the interview with Mark Warburton on Football Focus on BBC One, Saturday 8 April at midday.

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