A new King at Ibrox as Rangers sign Hearts winger

Mark Warburton
Mark Warburton

Rangers have clinched a deal to bring in Hearts winger Billy King until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has featured 20 times for Robbie Neilson’s side this term, but has now completed a surprise switch to Ibrox.

King, who has 18 months left on his Tynecastle deal, will go straight into Mark Warburton’s squad to face Falkirk in Saturday’s home Ladbrokes Championship clash.

While relucant to lose the services of the winger, Neilson believes the deal suits all parties.

The head coach told Hearts News: “Billy’s at a stage where he’s looking for regular game time, and that’s not something that we can guarantee at the moment.

“We’re fortunate to be in the position where we’ve got an abundance of options on the wing. Sam Nicholson and Jamie Walker - who’s almost at full fitness - are two of the best young players in the country and are being pushed all the way by Arnaud Djoum and Prince Buaben.

“The emergence of Dario Zanatta has given us even more options in there, so it makes sense for Billy to go out on loan to continue his development.

“He’ll get a run in a team that is pushing for a title, so it will benefit him in the short term and Hearts in the long run, when he comes back an even more confident player.”

Warburton, meanwhile, insists he is happy with the backing he has received from Dave King.

Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd predicted on Wednesday that the English manager could quit Ibrox at the end of the season if he is not given more financial support from the chairman.

Despite the South Africa-based businessman previously claiming he was ready to “over-invest” during the January transfer window to ensure the Light Blues claimed promotion, Rangers missed out on Toumani Diagouraga to Leeds and did not follow up on two failed bids for St Johnstone’s Michael O’Halloran.

Rangers have landed winger Harry Forrester from Doncaster for an undisclosed fee, as well as former Lech Poznan goalkeeper Maciej Gostomski as cover.

Responding to Boyd’s claims, Warburton said: “That’s just someone’s opinion. Look at us, we’re in a good place. If we were eight points behind, hadn’t signed a player and were coming up to the 30th, I’d say to you: ‘We’ve got a problem, things aren’t working. There’s a gap appearing and we’ve got an issue’.

“But that’s not the case. We’ve done very well. There’s a long way to go still but we’re confident. We’re enjoying what we’re doing right now and hopefully that will continue.”

Given Rangers’ troubled recent past, chairman King raised eyebrows with his claim last June that he was prepared to “spend whatever it takes to win the Championship”.

Warburton disagrees with those who claim the chairman has failed to deliver on his promises.

“It depends how you see that?” Warburton said. “What does ‘over-invest’ mean? It doesn’t mean being wasteful and spending cash unnecessarily. It has to be good value for the club.

“The club has been through some tough times so it’s important we get our foundations right and move forward in the right manner.

“That’s doesn’t mean cash is unavailable - it means the cash we do have we use wisely.

“We set our levels for what we think is appropriate for an individual player. If we manage to get one or two over the line then fantastic. If not we are still in a strong position.

“We won’t be forced into panic buying. The market does create this countdown and it is done superbly well on TV. It’s fantastic entertainment when you’re sitting there with your feet up. But if you’re involved in it, you can make poor decisions and the danger is it costs you.

“Every deal is different and the valuation of a player is an obvious hurdle to be overcome, so are the terms for the player or the agent. Then there’s add-ons or the term of deal. There are so many factors which can impact a deal. It’s not as simple as people might think and all parties have to leave it feeling comfortable or it doesn’t happen.”