Rangers boss Mark Warburton believes Old Firm rivals Celtic will be getting a manager of the “highest quality” if they persuade Brendan Rodgers to take over.
The former Liverpool boss has been interviewed twice by the Hoops’ hierarchy and appears to be the frontrunner to replace Ronny Deila.
Warburton knows the 43-year-old from their time together at Watford and has no doubt he can handle the intensity of working in Glasgow’s east end.
The Ibrox manager — speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Cup final with Hibernian — said: “I know Brendan, I worked with him at Watford. I was academy manager and he was manager. He’s very experienced, well organised, a good motivator, a good man-manager. He’s a manager of the highest quality.
“He’s worked in the Premier League and came within a slip of winning it, so there’s no doubting Brendan’s qualities.
“I like him very much as an individual, so if he is the man, he would be a great choice.”
Warburton, meanwhile, admits he is still waiting for Joey Barton to make up his mind on a move to Ibrox.
The free agent was pictured being shown round Rangers’ stadium and Murray Park training base. The 33-year-old — named Championship winners Burnley’s player of the year — has been offered a 12-month contract extension by Clarets boss Sean Dyche but is also mulling over Warburton’s proposal of a longer-term deal with Gers.
Warburton confessed he has yet to be given an indication of Barton’s thinking. Asked if he was still waiting for a response, the Gers boss said: “Yeah basically.”
He added: “Joey is a player that will have many, many suitors I’m sure. Our job is to sell the opportunity that Rangers represents.
“We’re never going to compete with wages down south, that’s an obvious point to highlight. But if we can show what we are as a club, the support, the history, the stature of the club, and what our aspirations and targets are then hopefully any player will find that appealing.”
Meanwhile, Hibs boss Alan Stubbs revealed a form of group therapy is one way his Hibernian players will refocus for the Hampden Park final. His side’s hopes of promotion to the Premiership ended last week against Falkirk when Bob McHugh scored a stoppage-time winner in the second-leg of the play-off semi-final to take the Bairns through on a 5-4 aggregate.
“When you have a really good group of players, sometimes you don’t have to say anything because this game speaks for itself,” he said.
“Giving them a couple of days away from the training ground has helped them get over the disappointment... some of them wouldn’t have wanted to chat, which is fine, but I know that working with them this week they are ready for Saturday.”
Here’s a little extra sport: BallTalk TV preview the FA Cup Final between Crystal Palace and Man United:
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