Mark Warburton joy as mum watches Rangers beat Hibs

Rangers' Andy Halliday jostles for possession with Dylan McGeouch of Hibs. Picture: John Devlin
Rangers' Andy Halliday jostles for possession with Dylan McGeouch of Hibs. Picture: John Devlin
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They say mother knows best and Mark Warburton isn’t about to disagree. His decision to leave the south of England, where he had lived and worked both in football and business for most of his life, for a new challenge as Rangers manager received the ultimate seal of approval at Ibrox on Monday.

Among the SPFL’s biggest attendance of the season, watching Warburton’s team beat Hibs 4-2 to move three points clear at the top of the Championship, was his 85-year-old mum.

“I had nine of my family and friends up for the game and it was a great chance for my mum to come up and see us,” said Warburton.

“She actually turned 85 on Boxing Day. She’s an avid football fan, always follows the games, and it was great for her to experience a game like that one. She sat through it all. I had some earache from her on the way home, but she really enjoyed it.”

It is those rare moments Warburton now spends in the company of his family which he says underline the strength of his desire to succeed at Rangers and guide the club back to the summit of Scottish football.

When his name was linked with recent managerial vacancies in London, at Fulham and QPR, he was irked by suggestions they could tempt him away from Ibrox as his family still live in the city.

But Warburton insists there is good reason why the spouses and children of both himself and his assistant David Weir have not relocated to Scotland.

“In truth – and this sounds really bad – the family may as well be lonely somewhere they know than lonely somewhere they don’t know,” said Warburton.

“My wife and family would just be stuck in a flat here somewhere, likewise David Weir’s family. So they might as well be close to where their own family and friends are.

“We can concentrate on the job and it has to be that way, because Rangers does demand that of you. It demands it in different ways.

“With the potential of this club, then it is only right that if you take this job, then you commit to it fully. If not, then I think you would get exposed really quickly.”

Warburton was understandably gratified by the level of his team’s performance against Hibs following a period which had seen the Easter Road club wipe out what was once an eight-point gap in the title race. But despite the clear sense that a significant blow had been struck in Rangers’ favour on Monday, Warburton remains wedded to his mantra that it was no more important than any other 90 minutes they will face on league business this season.

“It’s the same three points,” said the Englishman. “There is no point us winning against Hibs in front of around 50,000 people, with all the headlines and everything else that goes with it, and then we go and drop points at Dumbarton this Saturday.

“It can’t happen, so we’ve got to be really consistent with our message to the players. You can’t say Hibs was any different because if you’re doing that, they’ll say there will only be maybe 2,000 people at Dumbarton and therefore it’s not as intense.

“On Monday, our intensity, tempo, quality and work-rate was outstanding. Look at Martyn Waghorn with an 80-yard run in the first half and then again in the 93rd minute for his goal. So they did display a number of qualities and attributes which have got to be the norm for us each week.”

Warburton did concede that the sense of occasion and atmosphere generated at Ibrox on Monday provided him with his first real taste of what it may be possible for him to achieve at Rangers.

“It was my first experience of a crowd like that and people who have been around the club for a while say the demand for tickets was even greater than for some Old Firm games in previous years,” he added. “They said we could have filled another stand easily, such was the demand, and could have had a crowd of 65,000 or 70,000 which is magnificent.

“We said to the players after the game that the potential here is enormous to get the club back to where it’s been and beyond. So you’ve got to enjoy it, recognise the responsibility you’ve got to the fans and the expectation of the fans.”