Graeme Murty: I'd love a crack at Rangers job full-time
The 42-year-old has the second match of his second period as interim manager of the Ibrox club this afternoon when they host Partick Thistle in the Scottish Premiership.
Murty earned the admiration of Rangers fans during his first caretaker stint earlier this year, following the departure of Mark Warburton, and his approval rating amongst them soared last Saturday when he oversaw a 3-1 win at Hearts in his first game since stepping in again following the sacking of Pedro Caixinha.
The former Scotland defender is rated as one of the leading contenders for the vacancy by the bookmakers but more established club managers, including Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and former Newcastle and Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew, lead the market.
But Murty, while admitting he cannot be certain if the time is right for him to step up from development coach to the unforgiving world of first team management, confirmed he would jump at the chance if it was offered.
“If the board said ‘Graeme, it’s yours, take it’ – then, fantastic. Great. I might even crack a smile. You would be crazy to turn this job down.
“For all that it’s a high-powered and high-pressured job, and very much in the media spotlight, I have said before that this is one of the stellar jobs in British football.
“You can’t turn it down. Just as I couldn’t turn it down when the board said to me last week ‘Would you step up?’.
“I don’t think this job is too big for someone taking their first steps as a full-time manager. This is the first and last time I will use the name Zinedine Zidane, but he hasn’t done too badly in his first managerial job at Real Madrid.
“I will not ever compare myself to him, managerially or football-wise, so please don’t make that a headline but I think the right person is the right person, regardless of when they get the job.
“The honest answer is, I don’t know [if I’m ready]. To caveat that, if I was given an opportunity to be manager, I wouldn’t change. You wouldn’t see any difference in me when I sit in front of you. It would just be me with a different title.”
Murty, however, is keen that his lack of bullishness in terms of self-promotion is not confused with any shortage of confidence in his qualities or potential as a coach.
“Just because I talk mostly about the collective, about empowering players – that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in my own ability,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I don’t believe I can do this job. It’s that I believe in empowering people.
“For me to talk myself up isn’t something I’m comfortable with or have ever done. I’d far rather talk up those people who have helped me, pushed me and made this experience possible for me. I’ve never been comfortable with it being about one individual.
“It might be that self-belief. It might be that little bit of me saying ‘Yes, I want to do this, I can do this’. Do I think I can do it? Yes, I can. Do I think I can help the team? Yes, I definitely can.
“But could I do it full-time, 365? I don’t know, because I’ve never done it. The first full-time managerial experience will be an eye-opener for anyone.
“If the club were to say to me ‘Graeme, we like what you’ve done, we’d like you to have a go at it’ – then I would start to think about other issues.
“But, as far as I’m concerned, I’m in this seat just to go and do a job to the best of my ability. If that impresses people, great. But it will only impress people if I’m conscientious, dedicated and make the team better. My whole ethos and the reason I came into coaching was to try to make people better. If I can do that from the top spot at this club, then great. If I do ever go and stand on my own two feet and be a manager, it would be for my reasons when I think I’m ready, other than thinking about any fear for the future.
“You can’t base a career decision on ‘what if’, about what if it hasn’t happened 10 years down the line. This has happened for a reason, me sitting here now. I need to make sure that when the board come to me and say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, then I’m ready to go.”