Thursday 5 November 2015 16:47, UK
Rangers manager Mark Warburton insists the fall-out from the club’s oldco's tax battle defeat to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs will not derail his side's promotion bid.
Three Court of Session judges ruled a number of companies run by Sir David Murray, including the now-liquidated oldco Rangers, failed to pay millions of pounds in tax.
Murray's Rangers used Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) to boost the salaries of dozens of former first-team players and staff during the first decade of the century.
That has now reopened a fierce debate, with opposition supporters calling for Rangers to be stripped of the trophies they won during that period.
The ruling has cast a shadow over the Ladbrokes Championship outfit at a time when Warburton and his players were finally injecting some pride back into the club after years of turmoil.
Warburton - who saw his side's lead at the top of the table cut to five points when they suffered their first league defeat under his reign away to Hibernian last Sunday - rejected the suggestion that the controversy could have a negative impact on his side's prospects.
"Absolutely not," he said. "The players are focused on what they do. Like the staff [the EBT verdict] is beyond their pay grade and we just focus on what we do out on the grass."
The former Brentford boss also dismissed questions about his views on the calls for Rangers to be stripped of the titles they won between 2001 and 2010 after former chairman Murray's firms were found to have made £48m worth of tax-free payments to players and staff during that time.
"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," Warburton said.
He added: "I only get paid to come in here and run the football department.
"Anything else is not my business. I'm not qualified. I haven't got enough experience. I'm not clever enough, that's for sure, so my only focus will be the football department.
"Coming from the outside, I'm aware the last three or four years have been problematic but we are moving forward now. But the football department is in good shape and that's my job. Anything else outside that isn't my concern."
The EBT verdict came just hours after the club's annual report were released, revealing £7.5m in losses.
Chairman Dave King has told his manager he expects automatic promotion as the very minimum this term while also tasking him with building a squad capable of mounting a serious and immediate challenge to Celtic upon their Premiership return next year.
But while the latest financial figures also reported Rangers require £2.5m of loans from King and the Three Bears - investors Douglas Park, George Letham and George Taylor - just to survive until the end of the season, Warburton still believes his rebuilding plan will be able to progress as he had previously planned.
Warburton - who is already running an eye over Manchester City youngster George Glendon after inviting him to Glasgow for a week-long trial - said: "There are no grey areas. We are very clear what we have to do. We have to be successful this season and then prepare for next season.
"The size, scale and expectation levels of this club have never been in doubt. We understand it as a staff, the players recognise the responsibility we have. There is no lack of clarity in that area.
"All I know is that every player we've gone for since David Weir and I arrived at the club, we've secured those players, so we've been more than well supported by the board and the owner.
"I'm happy with the situation. If I had a problem I would say to the board. But I'm more than happy. The support has been fantastic and the communication is outstanding. From the football department there has been no problems at all."