Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark: Rangers didn’t voice any pitch concerns

Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark has said that no one from the Rangers management team mentioned the artificial Rugby Park pitch following Martyn Waghorn’s knee injury on Tuesday night.

The Gers striker went off immediately after winning and scoring a fourth-minute penalty before Mark Warburton’s side went on to win 2-1 in their William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay.

Waghorn faces two months out and a Rangers statement said: “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”.

Clark, who confirmed captain Mark Connelly is out for the rest of the season following a hip operation while Steven Smith will miss the visit of Dundee on Saturday as he awaits a scan next week on a hip problem which is affecting his groin, said: “The comments are a general comment, they are not from any one individual connected to Rangers.

“When I had a good conversation with Mark after the game – we get on really well, we have come up against each other many times in the English Championship and have a good relationship, myself, him and Davie Weir (Gers assistant) – the pitch was never mentioned.

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“The standard of it, the injury to Martyn Waghorn was never linked at all.

“We know that we have the highest standard of synthetic surface required and we find injuries are picked up on grass pitches also.”

Asked if he would have expected Warburton to say something about the pitch if he was unhappy, Clark, who will be in the technical area for the first time after taking over earlier in the week, replied: “If he was unhappy, yes.

“I think it is a generalisation that has come from the football club.

“It certainly hasn’t come from any one individual, there is no specific quotes from anybody, certainly from the football side of the club, the manager, assistant manager, doctor, physio.

“But the clubs will deal with that, they have a good relationship.”

Clark insists he has no concerns about artificial surfaces in general.

He said: “In England, to get category 1 and 2 status in the academies you have to these type of surfaces.

“My boy is in the academy at Newcastle United, he trains on them four times a week.

“If they were so bad, I don’t think they would have elite players from all over the world training on them.”