Rangers chairman Dave King calls Mark Warburton's behaviour 'strange'

Rangers chairman Dave King has shed further light on the breakdown in relations with Mark Warburton as he described the outgoing manager's response to boardroom scrutiny as "strange".

King reiterated the club's claims that Warburton and his management team had asked to be released from their contracts this week, although the former Brentford boss has denied resigning.

Rangers released a statement on Friday saying Mark Warburton had resigned

Rangers released a statement on Friday saying Mark Warburton had resigned

There was no sign of Warburton at the club's training ground on Saturday morning after he was told he was serving his notice period along with assistant David Weir and the club's head of recruitment, Frank McParland. Managing director Stewart Robertson was present to speak to the squad before training.

Graeme Murty was placed in charge of the team for Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round tie against Morton and Alex McLeish has emerged as an early front-runner to replace Warburton, possibly for an interim period.

Warburton stated in a press conference on Friday that he had no working relationship with King and the South Africa-based businessman's statement further underlined the tensions between the pair.

In particular, King was severely irked by Warburton's reaction to a mid-season briefing last month when the board quizzed their manager on the recruitment.

He revealed Warburton had appealed to the board to be allowed to make additional signings last summer instead of the initial plan to make "five or six" as part of "prudent phased investment".

King, who claimed he and his fellow directors had invested £18million of the £30million he promised, said the additional investment was expected to ensure Rangers finished a "strong second" but they sit third, 27 points behind Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic.

Of Warburton's nine summer signings, only Clint Hill and striker Joe Garner have been regular starters and the latter has only scored three goals.

That formed the backdrop to the recruitment review and King was unhappy to see elements of the talks appear in the media, stating "what is said in board meetings stays in board meetings".

King said: " This was a routine request and was timely given the concerns that everyone at the club has with regard to the high level of wages we were paying relative to the performance on the pitch. In particular, a large portion of our wage bill was not even seeing regular playing time.

"Under normal circumstances such a review would remain confidential. However, in this instance, your board's routine questioning of management was leaked to the media and conveyed as being a negative reflection of the board's attitude to the manager and the recruitment department. It was confirmed to me that the leak did not come from a board member.

"Irrespective of who leaked confidential information, it is clear from subsequent media comments that the manager did not respond well to the board reviewing his recruitment activity.

"This is a strange position to adopt and, in my personal experience, is not a position that a more experienced manager would adopt. No manager in the world can reasonably expect to be beyond scrutiny."

King said he had been aware of rumours that the management team had been negotiating with English clubs and added that his comments in the media "simultaneously reinforced his present unhappiness at the club".

The Glasgow-born businessman then repeated the version of events which were outlined in the club's statement on Friday: that a deal for the management trio to leave without compensation had been agreed early in the week and Rangers held them to it despite a request to "defer the resignation".

"I assume that the new deal had somehow collapsed at the last minute," King said.

Warburton had been rumoured to be a serious contender to take over at Nottingham Forest but caretaker boss Gary Brazil was handed the job until the end of the season on Thursday.

Rangers could now turn to McLeish, who is understood to head the club's list of potential candidates if they make a quick appointment, possibly on an interim basis until the end of the campaign.

The former Ibrox boss is available immediately, having been out of management since leaving Egyptian side Zamalek in May last year.

In the final part of his 1200-word statement, King said: "We are now in the process of reviewing the best interim and long-term solution for ensuring that a modern and robust footballing structure is put in place that will continue with and entrench the footballing philosophy that we have in place."

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