Rangers manager Mark Warburton has accused Alan Stubbs of “picking numbers out of the sky” when he claimed that the Championship leaders’ playing budget is four times what he is working with at Hibernian.
Stubbs made the assertion on radio following his side’s recent win over Rangers a fortnight ago that has tightened up the race for a title that he believes Warburton’s side should be in pole position to win owing to their outspending of their nearest rivals.
Asked about these comments and whether football was a simple matter of economics, an irked Warburton said: “Number one, I’m not sure where they are finding their information from; again they are just picking numbers out of the sky. Number two, I heard previously managing Rangers was a really easy job. That’s what I was told earlier.”
The barb about managing Rangers being “a really easy job” was a reference to an earlier comment Stubbs made about the fiscal advantages the Ibrox club enjoyed over all other second-tier sides.
Warburton and Stubbs have clashed on a number of occasions this season, most frequently during the Scott Allan transfer saga in the summer. The Rangers manager makes no bones about where he thinks the responsibility for this lies. “I think it’s really important you talk about your own club; that’s not being rude,” he said. “I’ll answer questions about Rangers. I wouldn’t for the life of me talk about another football club for the wrong reasons.
“To talk about budgets, we had a smaller budget at Brentford last year. And came fifth in the Championship. It’s not always about the size of your budget, it’s about how you best utilise it. Again, the focus is talk about your own team.”
Not sure where they get their information; just picking numbers out of the skyMark Warburton
Warburton is determined to focus on the positives of his team’s Championship form. Some have sought to cast in a different light because of their solitary defeat in 13 games, which came at Easter Road.
That result provides Hibs – who have won 12 and drawn one of their past 13 encounters – with the opportunity to move within two points of Rangers when they entertain Livingston tomorrow. However, Warburton has encouraged his squad to see the bigger picture.
“Let’s be honest, the players the players read what the media produces. They’ll see ‘it’s a disaster you’re only five points clear at the top’. What we said to them was that everyone would agree that Hearts ran away with it last year. Danny Wilson and Jason Holt were sitting there [when we said that]. Then we said but we are one point better off than they were at this stage.
“That’s how bad we are doing. That’s not in an arrogant way. That’s just us saying to the players don’t lose confidence or the belief in what you are doing. You’re doing okay right now. You’ve lost one game of football – a game we felt we should have got something out of.
“Hibs have done well. Really well. They’ve hit a good run of form. They’ve got momentum and self belief. That’s great. They get on with their business but the only focus here is Rangers. All credit to them. At this high level, to put a run together is an achievement and any team that does it deserves credit.
“But we know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to win games, that’s our job. When we pull the jersey on we’re expected to win. The weight of expectation is very clear here. The players know it and they enjoy it. Don’t crumble under it, enjoy it.”
Rangers, meanwhile, have announced that Douglas Park has returned to the Board.
He became a director in March but stepped down in August citing business commitments. His son Graeme took his position and he will remain on the Board.
Mr Park said: “It was always my intention to return. I am confident the club is on the correct path and I am delighted that I am now able to help take Rangers forward into what I believe will be a bright future for the club and the supporters.”