Will the speculation over Mark Warburton’s Ibrox future affect the Rangers squad?

No, says Chris Jack

MARK WARBURTON took to Twitter on Wednesday night to allay the fears of Rangers fans that he could be tempted to leave Ibrox and join Championship side Fulham.

On Thursday morning, he addressed his squad at Murray Park and confirmed his commitment to the club and his players.

After days of speculation, Warburton was keen to put the matter to bed in public and behind closed doors. And he gave one of his most intriguing press conferences yet just hours later at the Gers’ Auchenhowie base.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Mark Warburton in training is smiling after a trying week

It has been far from the ideal build-up to a match for Rangers but the headlines and the talk in many quarters cannot be used as excuse come kick-off at Stark’s Park tomorrow.

Rangers got a key run of fixtures off to a winning start as they saw off Dumbarton on Tuesday night and if they can end December with five wins from five games they will be well on course to achieving the main objective this season and securing the Championship title.

It won’t have been an easy few days for the Light Blues squad and it would only have been natural if a few worries had crept in as the headlines regarding Warburton and Fulham continued.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Mark Warburton (right) chats with captain Lee Wallace

Warburton brought most of the squad to Rangers in the summer, sold him on his vision and his plans to help return the club to the top of Scottish football. He would have spoken about Old Firm games, cup wins and European encounters.

Now that he has re-affirmed his commitment to the cause, the Englishman will be looking for a strong reaction from his players. After the storm, must come the calm.

If Warburton continues to impress, and his stock remains as high, it is a situation everyone at Ibrox, including himself, are going to have to get used to dealing with.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Mark Warburton

But when 53-year-old takes to the dugout and the players cross the white line, the focus has to be firmly on football. Rangers are in a title race with Hibs and they can’t afford any slip-ups.

Life in the Ibrox spotlight can take some time to get used to and the events of recent days will have been eye-opening to Warburton and his players.

Now they must get back to the job in hand and ensure they continue to make the headlines for all the right reasons in the coming weeks and months.

Possibly, says Matthew Lindsay

PLAYERS always say that what happens off the field and in the boardroom doesn’t affect their performances on the park.

And by rights they shouldn’t allow rumours to deflect their attention from the job of winning games, trophies and titles.

But the stories linking Mark Warburton with a move back to England have been incessant and you have to wonder whether they will start to have an impact on his charges if, as looks likely, they continue.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Mark Warburton during training yesterday. Picture: SNS

Warburton has persistently and politely dismissed them. The former Brentford boss this week held a meeting with his squad to underline that he has no intention of returning to his homeland.   

But he won’t be able to stop himself being linked with vacancies in both the Championship and even the Premiership – especially if his side continues to perform so well.

Eventually, that could start to get to the players. Those individuals who were brought to Glasgow by the 53-year-old, and there are a fair few of them, could start to worry about their futures if he departs.

Glasgow Times: Rangers manager Mark Warburton

The players he is selecting regularly for the first team could ask whether they will still get the nod if a new manager comes in. The doubt and concern will grow.

Financial concerns and unrest in the stands has, despite what the players have maintained, impacted on the side a great deal at Rangers in the last few years. Speculation about Mark Warburton could be damaging in the months ahead.