BY IAIN COLLIN – CAPITAL CITY PRESS
Alan Kernaghan believes Mark Warburton has the character to handle the huge expectations he will now have heaped on him as Rangers manager.
Kernaghan worked beside Warburton at previous club Brentford where Warburton was a coach and then sporting director and Kernaghan was assistant to boss Uwe Rosler.
When Warburton took over in the dugout from Rosler, who had left for Wigan Athletic, Kernaghan – who had briefly filled in as caretaker – left Brentford as part of changes made to the coaching staff at Griffin Park.
However, he saw enough in their time together at the Bees to convince him Rangers have made an astute appointment.
The 48-year-old former Clyde and Dundee manager said: “I think Rangers are getting a very positive manager, in the way he deals with the press, in the way he deals with his players.
“He’ll play an attractive style of football; he likes to play out from the back and quite a possession-based game, but also exciting.
“He likes younger players, who are hungry, and gives his players a lot of freedom.
“He’s also a big enough character to handle the expectations at Rangers, I think he’ll have no problems with that.
“He knows the expectations of him. Quite rightly, he should be challenging for the title this year, straight away, and I’m sure he will be.
“What goes on after that will take care of itself, I think.
“He will also be hands-on with everything and I think that’s a good way for the club to go anyway.”
Kernaghan became the first former Republic of Ireland internationalist to hold a coaching role at Rangers when he was added to the youth set-up in 2006 and left only three years ago to join former Manchester City team-mate Rosler at Brentford.
Having worked in his time at Ibrox with the likes of Tom Walsh, Andy Murdoch and Lewis Macleod, who have all come through to play in the first-team, Kernaghan believes the players are there should Warburton follow through on his promise to give youngsters more of an opportunity.
Now working as a coach with Northern Ireland’s under-15s and 16s, Kernaghan added: “It has been proven already that there are players there ready to play first-team football. I would imagine that legacy will continue.
“Obviously (assistant) Davie (Weir) will be briefing him in terms of the support and all the other stuff that goes on at the club.
“But Mark certainly comes with a clean pair of eyes to Scottish football and I think that can only be good for Rangers and Scottish football.
“Knowing Warbs and his contacts he’ll already have plenty of people in mind to bring in. I would imagine he’ll be ready to hit the ground running.”