Graeme Murty said he was “staggered” to be given the Rangers manager’s job until the end of the season but will now set about imposing himself on the team in a manner he felt was outwith his previous remit.
Murty, who stepped up from his role as the club’s under-20 coach when Pedro Caixinha was sacked in October, was yesterday placed in charge at least until the end of the season by the Ibrox board.
With more power handed to him following the board’s failed pursuit of Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, the 43-year-old will have the final say on any transfer dealings.
He has discussed reshaping the squad with the club’s director of football Mark Allen and is determined to use his new authority to make significant improvements.
Murty said: “It’s not something I came here to try to do, it’s not something that was in my mind but I really want to move forward now and repay the faith the board have shown me.
“I’m staggered that they have but I want to get my teeth into it and do as good a job as I can.”
The former Reading and Scotland defender, who will take his team to Kilmarnock today, added: “It’s still a little bit surreal to me that a club of this stature would give me this opportunity but there’s no way, in good conscience or [for] my career, I could ever have envisaged it or turned it down. The deal and the term was decided on Thursday and it was fairly instant. It was really a no-brainer for me. You get offered one chance, possibly the chance of a lifetime, to manage a football club like this.
“Before I was just preparing the team for someone else to come in, judge and take forward. And I was content with that. Now that it’s my team it has a different focus on it. There are things I would like to change, there are things I’d like to implement around the training ground, in and around our matchday protocols, that I think we can be sharper on. I haven’t wanted to rock the boat at all with the players because I didn’t think it wasn’t my place to upset things too much. I was just trying to keep them ready for someone else coming in.
“Now I’ve got an opportunity to the end of the season to try to do things how I would do them.
“We have identified areas where we need to bring in reinforcements. The recruitment group have done a really good job in identifying targets. However, as ever in January, you don’t get the volume of work done that you do in the summer. But we have certain key areas and conversations are ongoing. Now I am in the seat, they take a massively different slant. Previously, I was preparing a portfolio for someone else. Now I have the final decision.”
Murty insisted “everything is on the table” in terms of a challenge to Celtic and a possible Scottish Cup performance that would allow him to retain the position beyond the summer.
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson said yesterday that, as the man in the chair, Murty is now best placed to make that happen.
Murty said: “I have no doubt there are Rangers fans and pundits who are quite satisfied with this. I have no doubt there are lots of people who are dissatisfied. It is my job to turn that into belief. If I do that through good performances and results and, ultimately, we start to challenge – as I believe we could and should – then hopefully I give the board a difficult decision in the summer. If I don’t then it won’t be through a lack of trying.
“I’m not naive enough to think there wasn’t pursuit of other people. That’s fine. That’s where the board wanted to go but they have also seen fit to put a great deal of faith in me. If anything, that’s a greater motivation and a positive to me than any negative to being second, third or fourth or not being on the list. All I can do is realise the scope and scale of the opportunity, be grateful for that and try to maximise it.”
Discussions are ongoing about bringing in another coach to work alongside Murty, who said: “There are lots of options on the table. It has to be someone I am comfortable with and that the staff are comfortable with.”