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Rangers v Cetic: Warburton: Don't judge me on my Old Firm head-to-heads

By Ronnie Esplin

Mark Warburton does not want his performance as Rangers boss to be judged on his record against Celtic. The Ibrox manager is preparing to face Brendan Rodgers' rampant Ladbrokes Premiership leaders tomorrow - with a massive 16-point chasm currently separating the country's top two.

But the Englishman does not believe the Old Firm rivals' head-to-heads this season will be an accurate reflection of Gers progress.

Warburton has every reason to want to forget this season's derby clashes.

Gers were humiliated in this season's opener at Parkhead in September, when Rodgers marked his arrival on the Glasgow scene with a 5-1 demolition job.

Their next encounter came in October's Betfred Cup semi-final when the Hoops struck in stoppage time to break Light Blue hearts again.

Warburton insists his side have come on leaps and bounds since their first meeting but he reckons the final standings will be a better measure of his work.

Asked what he should be judged on, he said: "It has to be where we finish. I understand (the comparisons to Celtic) and please don't think for one second I'm understating it.

"But at the end of the season come May, where do Rangers come in the league?

"We spoke at the beginning of the season about being highly competitive and learning and gelling as a team over the course of the season. So if we do that and grab second spot, will we have had a good season? You tell me."

Meanwhile, Warburton is relieved his defensive options will not be diminished further with the news centre-back Rob Kiernan is free to face Celtic.

However, it is undestood he is facing a possible misconduct charge after allegedly swinging a punch at St Johnstone's Steven Anderson. TV pictures appear to show the Rangers defender aiming a jab at his Perth rival during Wednesday night's 1-1 draw at McDiarmid Park.

Anderson has already called on the Scottish Football Association to throw the book at the former Wigan centre-back, and compliance officer Tony McGlennan is reviewing the footage.

But no action can be taken before the Old Firm showdown. The rules for the SFA's fast-track hearings process state that the compliance officer has two working days to raise a complaint against a player accused of misconduct, with the player's response due by the third working day.

That means it will be Monday before Kiernan will have to answer any potential charge.

But Warburton said: "I've watched it again - it's a push. If you punish that there will be more judicial panels than you could possibly imagine."

Belfast Telegraph


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