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Big spender Warburton still complaining about Celtic’s £500,000 signing

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Mark Warburton is still fumbling for excuses to explain his 2016/17 capitulation at Ibrox.

Fresh from promotion to the top flight and winning the Petrofac Cup hopes were high in August despite the disappointment of handing the Scottish Cup to Hibs three months earlier.

Warbo took a vow of silence after the Scottish Cup Final but in the summer splashed the cash to bring in Joey Barton, Nico Kranjcar, Pip Senderos, Jordan Rossiter and Joey Garner to strengthen a squad that already included Andy Hailday, Barrie McKay, James Tavernier, Jason Holt and Lee Wallace.

Across the city Celtic had bought modestly with Brendan Rodgers putting his faith in the squad that he inherited while bringing in Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair.

As a former city trader Warbo would have known all about the young striker at Fulham. With his London connections and experience of buying low and selling high he could have charmed Dembele to Ibrox to be part of his revolution.

Instead Warbo opted to go with Garner to join Martyn Waghorn as he confidently predicted an Ibrox title party.

Three hammerings from Celtic- inspired by Dembele at Celtic Park, Hampden and Ibrox- led to the former city trader packing his satchel but with hindsight he has attempted to air-brush his disastrous transfer policy.

In an interview with the Daily Mail the current QPR boss claims:

“Look, Celtic went on to sign (Moussa) Dembele. Serious money – agency fee, big wages, big sign-on, chunk of transfer as a goodbye present.

“I was thinking: ‘We haven’t got the money to go against them. Our budget is still very, very low’.” The criticism that greeted this rational conclusion was that Warburton did not know the reality of football in Scotland where Rangers had to not only be competitive, but triumphant.

“Lying in bed that night (after winning a Scottish Cup penalty shoot-out), I knew we had to address those expectations. Yes, we had to enjoy the moment but we had to be reasonable.

“It’s not about lacking ambition, it’s not about not understanding the size of Rangers or what the club is about. I am not a fool. I got a lot of abuse about not getting it. I got it. Of course, I know how big the club is. But I also know football. We are going to smash Celtic? Financial logic tells you that is not on.”

If only Warbo had voiced his concerns in 2016 instead of buying into a title challenge he might have managed to complete a full season in the top flight of Scottish football.

Celtic signed Dembele in July 2016 as a teenager.

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