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Mark Warburton comments on the gap between Celtic and Rangers

Mark Warburton manager of Nottingham Forest looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest at St Andrews (stadium) on November 18, 2017 in...

Mark Warburton left Ibrox this year but says Glasgow Rangers will continue to struggle to compete with Celtic.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton thumbs up on arrival at the stadium prior to the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on December 31, 2016 in...

Mark Warburton has admitted to The Scottish Sun that he believes the gap which exists between Celtic and Rangers is only going to get wider for the foreseeable future.

Warburton oversaw Rangers' long-awaited return to the Premiership in May 2016 but, despite beating their Old Firm rivals in a Scottish Cup semi-final when they were a Championship side, the Gers were given a series of harsh wake-up calls during their first season back in the top flight.

The Ibrox side, who recruited a number of high-profile players such as Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar, only won two of their first seven Premiership games in a run of form which also saw Celtic ruthlessly bring them back to earth with a Moussa Dembele-inspired 5-1 defeat at Parkhead last September.

Brendan Rodgers manager of Celtic at the end with Mark Warburton manager of Rangers after  the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers  on September 10, 2016 in...

The Hoops hired former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers - who hasn't lost a domestic game of football in Scotland yet - to replace Ronny Deila a couple of weeks after their shock semi-final defeat to Warburton's side.

And the now-Nottingham Forest manager has heard suggestions that his good work on the blue half of Glasgow indirectly led to Celtic becoming the all-conquering side that they are today.

He told The Scottish Sun: “Someone actually said to me the other day: ‘Celtic responded because of the semi- final, Joey Barton and Kranjcar.' But we’d made a statement — we won the league, we beat Celtic to get to a Cup Final, and I think suddenly alarm bells rang.

Mark Warburton Nottingham Forest Manager before the the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest at Loftus Road on April 29, 2017 in London, England.

“Celtic, though, have picked up two successive Champions League pay-outs. The gap is only going to get wider. But I hope very much whoever comes in as Rangers manager he gets the backing and they can look to compete.”

Warburton left Rangers in February of this year and his replacement, Pedro Caixinha, was sacked in October.

The Gers wound up finishing 39 points behind treble-winning Celtic last season, but only a five-point gap exists at the moment.

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