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Mark Warburton heading for Rangers exit door despite his denial

Scottish Premiership

By Ronnie Esplin

Mark Warburton's reign as Rangers manager is over.

The Ladbrokes Premiership club announced last night in a statement that they had accepted the resignations of Warburton, his assistant David Weir and the club's head of recruitment Frank McParland.

Reports then emerged that Warburton denied resigning and that the Englishman was unaware of the club's statement and was consulting his legal team.

Rangers stood by the announcement, meaning Warburton's reign was at an end.

In the lengthy statement, Rangers said they had been advised earlier this week, at a meeting with the management team's representative, that the trio "wished to resign their positions and leave the club on condition that Rangers agreed to waive its rights to substantial compensation". Rangers said their agreement to waive the compensation would "assist the management team to join another club".

Warburton's position had been under scrutiny due to poor results and the massive deficit to Premiership leaders Celtic, which now stands at 27 points.

He had been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest, but the Sky Bet Championship club on Thursday night handed caretaker Gary Brazil the reins until the end of the season.

Under-20s coach Graeme Murty - a former Reading player and Scotland international - will take interim charge of the first team for tomorrow's William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round tie against Morton.

Former Northern Ireland international and St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright would be on a list of potential replacements, alongside Colin Calderwood and former manager Alex McLeish.

The record 54-time Scottish champions are 27 points behind leaders Celtic after returning to the top flight this season.

"Rangers has accepted the resignations of manager Mark Warburton, assistant David Weir & the Club's head of recruitment Frank McParland," the Gers said on their official Twitter feed.

A club statement read: "At a meeting with the management team's representative earlier this week, the club were advised Mr Warburton, Mr Weir and Mr McParland wished to resign their positions and leave the club on condition Rangers agreed to waive its rights to substantial compensation.

"Rangers' agreement to waive compensation would assist the management team to join another club. This compensation amount was agreed when Rangers significantly improved Mr Warburton and Mr Weir's financial arrangements before the start of this season.

"The board urgently convened to consider the offer made on behalf of the management team and its ramifications and agreed to accept it and release the trio from the burden of compensation, despite the potential financial cost to the club.

"It is important Rangers has a football management team that wants to be at the club that the board believes can take the club forward to meet our stated ambition to return to being the number one club in Scotland.

"We are clearly short of where we expected to be at this time. The representative acting for the management team subsequently attempted to alter the terms of what had been agreed in favour of the management team.

"A further board meeting was held this afternoon to discuss this and it was decided not to agree to this additional request but to hold with the original agreement. Mr Warburton, Mr Weir, and Mr McParland have therefore been notified in writing that their notices of termination have been accepted.

"The board is very appreciative of the good work previously done by the management team but believes it had no alternative. Our club must come first and absolute commitment is essential.

"U20 coach Graeme Murty will take interim charge. We know our support will give him and our team their full backing. We thank our support for their loyalty and desire to be the best."

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