There’s a school of thought that believes Graeme Murty will have the Rangers job for keeps if he can land the Scottish Cup for the Ibrox club. The man himself doesn’t place his thoughts in that particular educational establishment.
Murty’s tenure is till the end of the season. A couple of months into his time as permanent holder of the post for this current campaign and an Ibrox team he has reconfigured and revitalised are the form side in the country with ten wins and a draw from their past 12 games. They go into today’s Scottish Cup quarter-final tie and the derby with Celtic as a team that are firmly on the up. Yet, even if this impression is cemented through Murty being the man responsible for a major piece of silverware taking up residence in the trophy room of the Govan stadium after a seven years absence, the 43-year-old claims it wouldn’t be inconceivable for his paymasters to look elsewhere for a man to helm their team next season.
“That’s just football. That’s just the way it is. These things happen in football,” he said. “The measure of what we are trying to do is where we end up. Not only progress we have made as a squad and as a football club. Are we getting closer to where we want to be? Are we moving the brand further on? I think we are, but I keep reiterating we are not there yet.
“If football has taught me anything, it is when you think you have cracked it, it then trips you up and rubs your face in the dirt. We can’t get ahead of ourselves. We are in a good place but we have to do the right things at the right time.
“This is not where we want to be. We still have a big, big game on Sunday. We have the Old Firm game coming up, we have the split in the league, we have the semi- finals and finals of the cup yet to be contested and there’s lots of football to be played.
“We don’t want where we are currently to be as well as we have done. I don’t want to get pats on the back now. We want to accelerate and move forward from here. We have put ourselves in a good position, not a great one and it is our job to enhance our position. I’m still stunned to be sitting here to be perfectly honest.
“I’m enjoying every moment and I am still thankful and grateful for the opportunity.
“Whether it continues on will always be outwith the people in this group, it won’t be down to me. But what we can do is make sure the players put themselves in a really good situation to be successful in the latter part of the season. And if we do that, you never know what might happen. It might all have a positive outcome.”
Jason Holt is entitled to be stunned at the position he currently finds himself in. Three weeks ago he was captaining Rangers. For the club’s past three games he’s been on the bench. He stayed there across the entirety of Tuesday’s 4-1 victory at St Johnstone, having been only given an eight-minute run-out in last weekend’s win over Hearts. The emergence of Greg Docherty and Sean Goss as a central midfield partnership could leave Holt looking on at a Rangers that have stepped up a level. And they have done so without the injured Ryan Jack, Graham Dorrans and even Ross McCrorie, all potential rivals for the sort of central roles that the 25-year-old would see himself in.
“Any time you’re out of the team it’s tough and it’s difficult and frustrating,” Holt said. “But the only thing you can do is get the head down and work hard in training and try to impress the gaffer and get back into the team. Having been the captain and then not playing is difficult.
“I got suspended and missed one game and the two I have sat out the boys have won both of them. That’s football.
“I think there is competition all over the park – not just in my position – which is healthy for the squad. When you’re on the receiving end it’s frustrating but in the long run it’s good for the squad. But I want to get that shirt back and I’ll be working hard to do that.
“There are three central midfielders not playing at the moment and when they’re all fit they will be itching for an opportunity. You only get that if there is an injury or a suspension.
“Greg, who has taken my place, has done really well so I just have to bide my time. I’ve been in a position before when I’ve not been playing but I will just work hard and hopefully give the gaffer a headache.”