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Warburton insists off-field drama won't affect players

By Matt Gault

Rangers manager Mark Warburton insists he is remaining focused on football after another turbulent week off the pitch.

The Scottish Championship side have been under the microscope after Court of Session judges in Edinburgh found that various companies under former owner and chairman Sir David Murray had failed to pay millions of pounds in tax.

The Scottish Professional League Board held an emergency conference call yesterday afternoon to discuss the fall-out from Rangers' tax battle with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

In 2014, HMRC's appeal was dismissed but the club was rocked on Wednesday when HMRC won its second appeal.

When faced with the inevitable barrage of questions on financial and legal difficulties at his press conference ahead of today's game against Alloa Athletic, Warburton refused to be drawn.

"My only concern is the football department, that's my job," he said. "Anything else is not my business, I'm not qualified, I don't have enough experience to deal with these other matters.

"You're well aware of that (recent turmoil) coming from the outside, you do your homework and the last three or four years have been problematic.

"But we're moving forward now and the football department's in good shape. That's our job and anything outside of that is not my concern."

Rangers have enjoyed smoother fortunes on the pitch this season, winning 11 out of their 12 league games to sit five points clear of Hibernian at the Scottish Championship's summit.

Their closest challengers defeated them 2-1 last Sunday at Easter Road, but Warburton reassured fans that the off-field issues will not have any bearing on the surge towards promotion.

"Absolutely not," he said. "The players are focused. We focus on what we do out on the grass."

Warburton became slightly tetchy when quizzed about the strong reaction from some corners of Scottish football calling for Rangers to be stripped of the Scottish Premier League titles they won during the time Electronic Benefit Transfers were being used.

Warburton is a man very much focused on Rangers' future, however.

He added: "I arrived here five months ago, why would I possibly have an opinion on that? My full focus is on this football department and taking it forward. So to talk about history is irrelevant in the nicest possible way."

Belfast Telegraph


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