A couple of bookmakers had commendations for Mark Warburton yesterday. It was a given that league sponsors Ladbrokes would make the Rangers boss Championship manager of the month for September to make it two-out-of-two for him with these awards. His team’s nine wins out of nine in the second tier also had one betting exchange briefly quoting a meagre price for Warburton to fill the vacancy at Liverpool created by the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, though.
“I wouldn’t stick a tenner on that one,” smiled Warburton when told of the development yesterday. Yet surely it meant something just to get a mention for such a coveted post, which Jurgen Klopp appears favourite for? “It’s your tenner,” was the joking response of the Ibrox manager to that.
To be linked to these type of jobs is very, very flattering but for us it is about doing a really good job hereMARK WARBURTON
The former city trader was cautious, to some extent, with the notion that his stock would have risen through his efforts down Govan way since the summer – or that his revitalising of Rangers could allow the former Brentford manager to trade his way to an English Premier League stay.
“I hope our stock has risen. David [Weir] and I are working really hard here. To be linked to these type of jobs is obviously very, very flattering but for us it is about doing a really good job here. That is how your stock rises: doing a really good job over a long period of time. Just over three months isn’t long enough to say you’ve done a really good job, it’s only 25 per cent of the season. Our job has to be to keep on building here. If we do that, come the end of the season then you can say you’re stock’s risen.
“Don’t forget the industry we are in. The average tenure down south was eight months. At one stage [in the English Championship last season] I was the fifth longest-serving manager [in passing a year in charge] at Brentford. That is how bizarre it is. My reference to that is because we have to do well here. The targets are really clear here. Sometimes you don’t have the choice about whether you stay or not. It is about you having a clear job to do. We know what we have to do to be successful here. That’s our only aim here to be successful as quickly as possible.
“Anyone in any industry, not just football, has in their mind that they want to be the best they can be. David and I have that. How high can we go? If we can go Champions League with Rangers, fantastic. There’s not much higher. But you can’t start worrying about other things or planning too far ahead. Right now the only focus in this job is the next game. It has to be that way, otherwise the media will be very harsh.”
Rangers’ next game will not arrive until a week on Saturday, when they will entertain Queen of the South. They were scheduled to host Livingston on Friday in the quarter-final of the Petrofac Training Cup but activated their right to a re-arrangement because of international call-ups. Warburton has no truck with those who would maintain his club have been over cautious considering they have a wage bill 12 times that of Mark Burchill’s team and their players missing are two teenage loanees – Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem and Spurs winger Nathan Oduwa – and Fraser Aird, who has managed only 36 minutes of senior action all season.
“We’ve lost Nathan, starter, we’ve lost Gedion, starter, and Fraser, bench player,” he said. “I think you have to be best prepared for every game you go into. We have lost three players who are in the 18-man squad every week, why would we play it? I think every team would do the same as us.”