Mark Warburton won’t let ‘bad characters’ ruin Rangers

Character is as important as ability to Rangers manager Mark Warburton. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Character is as important as ability to Rangers manager Mark Warburton. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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Mark Warburton insists he will not risk the harmony of his Rangers dressing room this summer by bringing in unsuitable characters.

The Ibrox club have put on a united front on their way to the Ladbrokes Championship title and Petrofac Training Cup success.

They are still hoping to have one last party this term when they face Hibernian in next month’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.

But Warburton is already starting work on his transfer targets for next season as he plots a successful return to the top flight, with as many as seven new faces expected to check in for pre-season training.

However, the former City of London trader knows the disastrous effect of allowing a bad apple into a working environment and stressed personal traits will be just as important as footballing quality when he draws up his list of potential recruits.

Asked if he would consider signing a talented yet temperamental prima donna, the Rangers manager said: “Absolutely not. If we were offered a top European talent but someone who would spoil that dressing room, we won’t take them.

“The players have worked really hard to get the unity right here. This is a good place to come to work.

“If a player is inappropriate or dilutes the quality of that environment, he won’t be welcome.

“I’ve seen it happen before when I was working in an academy capacity. I saw it during my previous work in the City. If you get bad characters it spoils the whole working environment.”

Warburton feels signing volatile characters is just asking for trouble.

He said: “Some people say these guys are great to manage or it’s a challenge to deal with them. I think that’s baloney. I think you have recruited poorly and you’ve got the wrong characters in the dressing room.

“The player’s persona is just as important as their technique. You’re asking them to come here and understand the culture of Rangers, to understand the expectations of the fans and I want them to recognise the responsibility.

“If you have 50,000 fans at Ibrox, that’s a real responsibility. If you go out and don’t deliver a performance, you’ve let down a number of fans. Our players know that and have been outstanding.

“I think we’ve got it right. I knew Rob Kiernan from when he was 13 or 14, the same with Harry Forrester. But we had to have conversations about the other guys. However, you speak to the likes of Wes Foderingham and know right away he has passion, desire and wants to move forward.

“Andy Halliday, Jason Holt and guys like that – there’s no question about their character. They have been first class and it’s the same throughout the team. Ally that to the likes of Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller with their experience and we’ve been delighted.”

Rangers will finally bring the curtain down on their four-year journey through the lower leagues when they complete their Championship campaign away to St Mirren on Sunday.

Warburton has been nominated for the PFA Scotland manager of the year award for the work he has done transforming the broken squad he inherited last summer.

But the manager insisted it is his players who deserve the praise.

“I’m delighted by how things have gone,” he said. “The main goal of promotion has been achieved. It was important how we did it, which I felt was in a really convincing way.

“From start to finish it has been a good year. They’ve led from wire to wire which is not easy.

“But the credit all goes to the players for maintaining the focus and concentration.”

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