Mark Warburton – A Job too Big

The honeymoon is over for Mark Warburton at Rangers FC. The job is bigger than most people and it is becoming increasingly clear that the 54 year old Englishman is out of his depth in the hot seat of one of the most high profile clubs in Europe.

When he and Davie Weir were recruited after their questionable departure from Brentford it was seen as somewhat of a coup, a Managerial team who had led The Bees to their highest ever finish of 5th in The SkyBet Championship.

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Warburton comes across as a confident and slightly arrogant man, but he is now finding out why so many of his Old Firm predecessors have failed…The Glasgow goldfish bowl is a pressure cooker!

Yes he has the Scottish Championship title and Petrofac Cup to his name from his full season in charge, however – these were the least the club expected from the 2015/16 season given the failure to retake their place in the SPL at the 1st time of asking in the previous year.

7 games into his 1st season managing in a top flight league and he is finding the going tough. A mere 9 points from 21 is not something which you associate with a domestic superpower like the Ibrox side. Currently they sit in 7th place, 7 points behind Celtic – who also have a game in hand against the current basement side Partick Thistle.

Draws against Hamilton, Ross County and a 10 man Kilmarnock are bad enough, but throw in defeats against Aberdeen and a 5-1 hammering from Celtic, without Griffiths and you have some serious questions to answer north of the border. Over the course of a season these results raise questions, but in September it should leave his position untenable.

In fact, he is currently 3 points worse off than Paul Le Guen’s side in the 06-07 season. The Frenchman was the club’s shortest serving manager lasting just 8 months.

Pre-season recruitment has brought Warburton’s scouting into the spotlight. The wages being spent on the additions of Barton, Kranjcar, Hill, Senderos and Gilks could be put to better use. Whilst the near £3m spend on Garner, Dodoo and the under-used Jordan Rossiter are not proving value for money. You’d have thought that given recent sanctions the Rangers Board many have learned lessons in frittering away money, perhaps not.

Joey Barton has been paid £80,000 during a 4 weeks suspension and left him with plenty of time to promote his new book, further calling into question Warburton’s role as chief. A manager cannot be undermined by someone such as Barton and anything other than the tearing up of Joey’s 2 year deal will further weaken his position. Kenny Miller is fresh from an overnight stay in the slammer which doesn’t help his cause either.

Perhaps more importantly Mark Warburton just does NOT UNDERSTAND the Old Firm and what it means. Quotes such as “no major gulf, ”nobody died” and his amazement at the negativity at the result will not bode well with the diehard fans. He certainly shouldn’t have looked to the English top 4 loving TalkSport for inspiration as he did after the Killie draw. Note to all fans outside of the EPL… TalkSport, talk repeated nonsense.

There is also no sympathy from any neutral in Scotland that John Beaton awarded a decision against The ‘Gers at the weekend. Sorry Mark but your over reaction raises nothing but smiles and sniggers, god knows every other team has had it against them 10 times worse and in much bigger games.

Celtic are certainties to make it 6 titles on the spin this season and you’d struggle to make a plausible argument against them equalling the record of 9 in a row. That could quite easily become 10, 15 or 20 given how far away Rangers are. The likes of Hearts and Aberdeen are getting closer and they are now Celtic’s main rivals for domestic honours, not their city neighbours.

His “magic hat” has slipped, his team are in the bottom half of the SPL and the inevitable discontent from the terraces has begun…

Mark Warburton your time should be coming to an end because the job is just too big for you!

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First Mark Warburton image sourced from; www.skysports.com
Second Mark Warburton image sourced from; www.dailyrecord.co.uk

The Old Firm – Semi Final is just the Beginning…

April the 17th will see two massive clubs play out one of the most hotly contested local derbies in World football. Celtic v Rangers is an event  like no other and let it be known that this game will light the touch paper for the 2016/17 season.

To the surprise of many Scottish football fans the 2 big guns came out together in the draw when most expected the much laughed about “hot and cold” balls to be placed into the pot.

The prospect of an Old Firm Final just before Rangers make the long awaited re-appearance in the top flight we assumed would be too good an opportunity for the SFA to overlook.  How wrong we were!

Since Rangers demotion to the Scottish 4th tier in 2012 these 2 rivals have met only once, In the League Cup Semi Final of 2015. Rangers were no match for Celtic either on the park or off it a year ago but this time around they are a different proposition.

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Rangers have rid themselves of a lot of deadwood and players not capable of producing a Championship title at the 1st time of asking last term. They had paid big wages and carried the likes of Ian Black, Bilel Moshni and Steve Simonsen for too long the new management team of Warburton and Weir have cleared the decks and brought in their own men. Mainly raiding Wigan Athletic for 3 solid footballers who have settled well in Glasgow.

Over in Glasgow’s East End this could quite easily be seen as one of Ronny Delia’s last act’s as Celtic Manager. His 12 moth rolling contract will once again be up for review at the end of the season and with a poor European performance (Europa League – Played 6, won 0), League Cup Semi defeat to Ross County and a strong title challenge from Aberdeen still on the cards, it is difficult to make a case for him being given another season. Speculation is rife with David Moyes and even Ryan Giggs being mentioned for the role, Delia is not and never will be the man for Parkhead.

The game itself will be set up perfectly by the time it comes around, Rangers have secured the Scottish Championship title and will be determined to prove many doubters wrong by upsetting the bookies and making it to the final. Celtic will still have one eye on the league and will undoubtedly be under pressure to dispatch of their fiercest rivals just like last year.

3 battles on the day will be key to deciding who will play either Hibs or Dundee United in the 144th Final…Griffiths v Wilson – Brown v Holt – Delia v Warburton.

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Next season will see at least 3, more likely to be 4 Old Firm games return to our screens and it fair to say they have been missed. They are looked forward too by millions around the world and really should be mentioned in the same breath as El Clasico, The Manchester and Merseyside derbies.

The football on show may be looked down upon by some but you’d struggle to name a poor game between these two giants.

Back to the impending duel however…Hampden will be packed to the rafters, the respective ends will be in full voice and make no mistake both sets of fans will be arriving expecting to leave victorious. Celtic are there for the taking in our opinion and this alone should make for a fantastic Semi Final.

As long as the players and fans behave then roll on Sunday 17th April!

Old Firm image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jackross
Old Firm crowd image sourced from; www.thetimes.co.uk/sport/football