View Full Version : Warburton - Cup semi was major reason players want to be at Gers

21-06-2016, 22:49
Roddy Forsyth
21 JUNE 2016 • 10:30PM
Joey Barton would never have moved to Ibrox had the Scottish Cup not thrown up an epic Old Firm semi final between Rangers and Celtic, Mark Warburton has admitted. The controversial midfielder was a surprise signing and the Rangers manager also disclosed that he had not believed the 33-year-old would be prepared to move to the SPFL but that the situation was transformed when the player witnessed the impact of Glasgow’s legendary football schism.

“What did it was the semi-final,” Warburton said, of the tie which Rangers on penalties after a 2-2 draw. “If there is one factor that weighed in our favour, it was the semi-final. Everyone I know in football watched it. I had more texts about that game than any other in my life.

“They all watched it and they saw the passion of the fans, a good quality game, the coverage, everything. That, for me, was the factor that made people decide they want to be part of that.”

Joey Barton decided to abandon a Premier League campaign with Burnley to sign for Rangers
One former colleague of Barton’s – Clint Hill – signed for Rangers last week and Nico Kranjcar is expected to be confirmed as Warburton’s latest acquisition later this week, probably on Thursday, Telegraph Sport understands. Asked if the Ibrox squad would be significantly lighter but for the lure of the Old Firm rivalry, the Rangers manager said: “I think it would have been.

“I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all, but it was such a showpiece of a game and so many people watched it and enjoyed it. You had four goals, penalties, the drama, the crowd, the passion. Had it been 0-0 or a 1-0 in the 93rd minute then maybe it wouldn’t have been the same.

“It was a really exciting game and I think, rightly or wrongly, that really sold the prospect of coming to Glasgow. We set out our targets fairly early and we have gone and got them.

“To get people like Joey Barton, Clint Hill and Jordan Rossiter, plus Josh Windass and Matt Crooks – they are good, early, high-quality acquisitions. I am delighted with them.

“I think the intensity here will be a shock to them. They are both very experienced professionals, so they are going to say all the right things. I said to them, ‘There is a media interest probably unlike most others’.

“I spoke to Brendan Rodgers on holiday and we talked about the same thing. Brendan has worked at the highest level, but he will find it very intense. But they are professional and they are smart guys, so hopefully it will all go well.”

“I know Brendan, we worked together at Watford. He was manager, I was academy manager and we got on very well. It was just a phone call, an introductory, I wished him well and he wished me well. I am sure we will share a glass of wine at some stage
Warburton’s own future at Ibrox has been the subject of much speculation but he dismissed suggestions that there was any mystery about his prospects.

“I read contract that talks have doubled my money,” he said. “I read that contract talks have broken down, that contract talks were deep in discussion.

“You see these stories and they are quite bizarre. I’ve been linked with players I’ve never heard of. Apparently there have been players turning us down who I have never heard of, but if the fans want to believe that I can’t control it.

“If they hear it from my lips or David Weir’s, or the owner’s or the board, that’s different - but it’s all rumour-mongering.”

Mark Warburton was speaking at a 2016/17 league season preview event organised by the SPFL and its title sponsors Ladbrokes