Rangers boss Mark Warburton calls for plastic pitch ban

19 February 2016 02:53

Rangers manager Mark Warburton called for an end to artificial surfaces in the top flight as he admitted Martyn Waghorn's season could be over after picking up an injury at Rugby Park.

The Gers striker went off immediately after winning and scoring a fourth-minute penalty before the Championship leaders went on to win 2-1 in their William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay on Tuesday.

As 28-goal Waghorn said he would be out for between six to eight weeks on his Twitter account, Rangers issued a statement, part of which read: "The initial impact on an unforgiving Rugby Park surface resulted in bruising and lacerations which were immediately visible."

Killie hit back at the Ibrox club, describing criticism of their surface as "ill-informed". But Warburton stuck to his guns after he updated Waghorn's injury situation ahead of Sunday's Championship clash with Queen of the South at Palmerston, which also has a plastic surface.

"He is seeing a specialist today in London to get a more detailed report," the Rangers boss said.

"There is no surgery required which is most pleasing. Hopefully he will be back for the end of the season, but there is a possibility he won't, it depends how his recovery progresses."

Turning to Killie's artificial surface, Warburton said: "There is no doubt in our minds, from a coaching perspective and medical perspective, his injury wouldn't have been of this nature if it hadn't been for the pitch.

"Martyn Waghorn left that pitch with lacerations and immediate bruising, there is no doubt about that.

"When we use the term unforgiving, we meant in terms of the hard aspect of the pitch.

"It is harder than a grass pitch would have been. It is as simple as that.

"Had that been on grass he wouldn't have the same nature of injury that he has now.

"That is just a simple fact and that has been backed up by a medical team, a very proficient medical team and by coaching staff who saw the initial impact of the injury."

Asked if he did not want artificial pitches in Scottish football, the former Brentford boss said: " Personally, not at the highest level, we need to be clear on that.

"We understand the financial climate, the need for revenue, we are not ignoring that.

"But at the highest level, to attract more investment, would it not be better to have a consistently high quality level of grass pitch in the Premiership?"

Source: PA