Did Mark Warburton Throw His Own Player To The Wolves Yesterday?

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Over the last couple of days, there’s been much discussion of the crumbling Ibrox regime.

With Frank McParland reportedly ready to quit and talk of huge splits between the dressing room and the boardroom it’s hardly surprising that fans are on edge. But to actually launch so much abuse at one of your own players, when he’s sitting in the stand, that he had to get security … that’s pretty unreal.

That’s pretty heavy, whatever’s been going on.

Today Barry Ferguson decided he’d devote his Daily Record column to essentially telling Rob Kiernan – the victim of this abuse – to suck it up.

To learn to take it. Feeling threatened. High level aggro.

Ferguson is an idiot, of course.

His column today reads like the badly written confessions of a guy who tried and failed to get into the SAS, a sort of crap Andy McNab in every sense.

“Unlike Kiernan, at least I had the advantage of being brought up in this city. I knew the rules,” he writes, playing into the most honking Glasgow stereotype of them all.

As if this was a concrete jungle.

Ferguson has long had a reputation as a mouthy ned, so it’s hardly surprising the best advice he can offer Kiernan is to toughen up, as though feeling threatened is a part of everyday life for a footballer. Not everyone fancies himself as a reformed boot boy.

What is surprising is that Kiernan’s manager has decided not to protect his player, but to come out with much the same garbage.

In doing so, he’s thrown the guy to the wolves.

This is the kind of thing that makes it hard for me to muster any sympathy for Warburton and his current plight.

He so regularly fails on the level of basic decency.

He’s the one who signed Kiernan and bummed him up in the press. His assistant described the player as a “potential Champions League” defender. Warburton has been very good at talking up the talents of the footballers he’s bought, and then, when they fail, casting them aside.

Having put them through their paces he then undermines them by telling the media how below par his squad is, how he needs more players.

During the window he signed two midfielders and a goalkeeper, which would suggest that he was perfectly happy with the guys he had in central defence. This astounded Sevco fans who’ve had real doubts about their back line for a while.

No player should ever be booed by his own fans, and no player should ever feel threatened by them when not even on the pitch.

Yesterday Warburton had a chance to address that issue by telling the fans who did it what a disgrace they are.

But instead he did away with the historic convention that teams protect their players in all circumstances when he appeared to accuse Kiernan of being soft during an interview with SevcoTV.

“We have to get players to come here who can deal with the pressure,” he said, as though that meant having to put up with threats. “They have to deal with a 50,000 crowd, a tremendous away support and the expectation and responsibility that comes with it. They have to be able to deal with it and not every player can but many can and that is part and parcel ….”

So deal with it, Kiernan. Get over yourself. Don’t expect the club to wrap you up in cotton wool or tell the fans to back off, no. Grow up and be a man.

You know what? I reckon Warburton knows what the right thing to do here is. He’s not daft.

You only have to look at how Brendan has defended his players in public, even those who aren’t in the team. His comments about Efe Ambrose a few weeks ago, where he reminded the hacks that they had a responsibility to consider the player’s feelings when writing about him, were superb and humane and genuinely warm. I don’t think Warburton is soulless enough that he doesn’t get that and doesn’t want to say something similar to his own fans.

But Warburton knows he’s already getting enough stick, and self-preservation is all that matters to him now.

So in total contrast to what a good leader should do, he’d rather throw his man to the baying mob than stick up for him in public.

I hope I’m wrong.

I hope when he sits down with the media later that he does stand up for his player, but in his comments to the club’s own PR team he’s basically accused the guy of not being hard enough, of being an emotional weakling.

I think if he doesn’t sort that out today that it would be absolutely shameful.

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