Mark Warburton defends Rangers pursuit of Accrington duo

Mark Warburton insists Rangers acted responsibly while courting Josh Windass and Matt Crooks. Picture Michael Gillen
Mark Warburton insists Rangers acted responsibly while courting Josh Windass and Matt Crooks. Picture Michael Gillen
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Mark Warburton has rejected criticism from Accrington Stanley of Rangers’ conduct in their pursuit of Josh Windass and Matt Crooks, insisting the Ibrox club acted “responsibly and appropriately” in securing both players on pre-contract agreements this week.

The midfield duo, both 21, have agreed four-year contracts with Rangers and will join Warburton’s squad this summer when their current deals with Accrington expire. The English League Two club have been infuriated by the manner of Rangers’ acquisition of their prize assets. Under Fifa cross-border transfer regulations for players aged under 24, Accrington will receive only nominal compensation fees for Windass, son of former Aberdeen striker, Dean, and Crooks.

The Lancashire outfit also expressed their dismay at what they claimed was a lack of courtesy shown by Rangers, with Accrington manager John Coleman stating a “curt” email was the only communication received informing them of the Scottish Championship leaders’ intention to sign them. But Warburton, who confirmed there will now be no move from Rangers to try and advance the signing of the players to the current transfer window, is unrepentant in the face of Accrington’s complaints.

“It’s important that we have acted within the letter of the law, so to speak,” said the Rangers manager. “It is what it is. What goes around, comes around. It happens many times in different situations to many people. The club have acted perfectly responsibly and appropriately in this situation and that is the end result.

“It is about going about our business in what we feel is the right way. Everyone has an opinion in football, that’s the beauty of the game, but we are comfortable with the fact we acted in the right manner. We have followed due process and procedure.

“If I phoned him [Coleman], it would be private anyway. You try to explain what you are doing and why you are doing it, in the appropriate manner. We have dealt with it the right way. We’ve got the result we wanted and also the result the players wanted.

“We hope they go back to Accrington, fight for the play-offs and have a good season. They will be Accrington players until the end of the season. I’m sure they will do their very best for them and I’m sure they will be looked after. It is good business. We have two good, young assets who bring value for the club and I hope they have a big future at Rangers.”

Warburton says he is still seeking another two additions to his squad before the transfer window closes. Brentford midfielder Toumani Diagouraga remains a target, despite Warburton’s former club rejecting Rangers’ initial £100,000 offer for the 28-year-old Frenchman.