THE stunning opening which Rangers have enjoyed to the 2015/16 season under Mark Warburton has taken even those who appointed him by surprise.

The Glasgow club have now won their opening 10 competitive fixtures this term and have quickly surged five points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Championship table.

That is the best start ever made by a new manager at Ibrox – beating the previous best of eight triumphs set by the legendary Bill Struth way back in 1920.

What is more, they have swept all before them playing an attractive and exciting brand of attacking football which has drawn large crowds back to their home games.

It is little wonder that Warburton was announced as the Ladbrokes Championship Manager of the Month for August on Tuesday.

Dave King, the major shareholder and chairman at Rangers, last week admitted that the former city trader had fared far better than he and his fellow directors had expected or hoped.

King and his associates took a huge risk when they brought in the Englishman, who had spent less than two seasons as a manager, during the summer due to his inexperience.

But one man who fully expected Warburton to flourish when he heard he was moving to Scotland during the summer was his countryman Harry Redknapp.

Redknapp saw the Brentford side his countryman managed in the English Championship on several occasions towards the end of his time in charge of Queens Park Rangers last season.

Very quickly, he identified the 52-year-old as one of the more innovative and promising coaching talents emerging south of the border.

So the vastly-experienced manager, who counts West Ham, Portsmouth, Southampton and Spurs among his former employers, was astonished when he was sacked midway through last season.

Despite having a far smaller budget than the majority of clubs in the second tier, he led the unfashionable Griffin Park club into the end-of-season play-offs.

“Mark’s a good lad and a fantastic acquisition for Rangers,” said Redknapp. “He was a massive loss to Brenford. How they could let him go after he did such a good job there, I’ll never know.

“It was amazing to say they were going to sack him during the season, or that he was leaving, really. Brentford were going for promotion at the time and it was incredible. I had met him a few times. Once he went to Rangers, I knew it was going to be good days for them.”

The route which Warburton took into the management was unconventional. He failed to make it as a professional at Leicester City before going on to play for non-league Enfield and Boreham Wood.

He then carved out a highly-successful career for himself in the City of London before deciding to move back into football and working in a variety of roles as a youth coach, assistant manager, sporting director and scout.

Yet Redknapp, who himself played for nearly 20 years at clubs in England and the United States before moving into the dugout, had no concerns that Warburton’s background would prevent him from doing well as a manager.

“Mark was a lad without a playing career, but he wouldn’t be the first one to do that,” he said. “I think the way players look at that these days has changed. In the past, players would look at a manager and think: ‘Right what have you won? Where have you played?’

“With the likes of Jose Mourinho coming into the game, or Andre Villas Boas, or other boys getting big jobs, that attitude has definitely changed. Lots of lads who had never really played the game were getting into management and, when you have a few who are successful, it is accepted nowadays.

“I was impressed by the way he got his team to play. I watched Brentford four or five times last season and loved the way they played. He was able to get the best out of players and I could see he had a future.”

Warburton was one of the founders of the |Next-Gen Series, an under-19 tournament for clubs from across Europe, and Redknapp first came across him when he was in the process of setting that up.

Even back then, he could see the aspiring coach was a deep thinker about the game and he is not surprised he has done well this term at Rangers with young players like Barrie McKay, Nathan Oduwa and Gedion Zelalem.

“When Mark was putting the NextGen thing together, he was quite friendly with Tim Sherwood and came down to Tottenham when I was the manager there,” he said. “I didn’t know him, but he was right pally with Tim and he had good ideas about the under-19s. We had a meeting at that time and I was quite struck with him then.”

Moving to Rangers was, even though the Ibrox club did not occupy a place in the top flight of Scottish football, a huge step up for Warburton. He put his burgeoning reputation as a manager on the line by agreeing to take over at a club experiencing significant off-field problems and harbouring great expectations.

But Redknapp was always confident the man he has performed Sky Sports punditry duties alongside in the past would relish the considerable challenge and flourish with club legend Davie Weir alongside him as his assistant.

“Let’s be honest, Mark has gone to one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he said. “He’s not exactly walked into a small club, it’s one of the great clubs in world football. But he’s taken big Davie Weir with him and he was a top, top player as well and knows Rangers so that will help him.

“Celtic and Rangers are the same. You go anywhere in the world, to America for example, and there will be 30,000 people turning up to a game.

“It’s very different for him, but to walk into Ibrox stadium is big and when he is manager at an Old Firm game, well that’s going to be something unlike anything he’s never experienced before.

“It’s enjoyable pressure managing a club like Rangers.The training facilities, for example, would be at another level from Brentford to Murray Park. It’s another level of club. They are not on the same planet.

‘Mark has taken a massive step up the ladder, even though it’s English Championship to Scottish Championship. It’s a fantastic opportunity. The football is good. They are playing with style and I expected that.

“But he does have the best players. Mark can still go into the market and get players to sign. He’s bought good players and a betting man would have had Rangers to win the league at the beginning of the season.”