Ally McCoist believes Rangers would be treating Graeme Murty unfairly if his future as manager of the Ibrox club is determined by the outcome of Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic.
Rangers chairman Dave King this week praised Murty’s work since replacing the sacked Pedro Caixinha in October but offered no clear indication of whether he will be retained in the role beyond the end of the season.
There is a widespread perception that Murty’s prospects will depend on whether he can oversee an Old Firm victory at Hampden this weekend and go on to win the Scottish Cup in May.
But former Rangers striker and manager McCoist has questioned the timing of King’s statement, which accompanied the club’s launch of season ticket renewals, and insists Murty deserves a more considered judgement.
“The feeling seems to be that it’s a defining game for Graeme and that’s not necessarily correct in my opinion,” said McCoist.
“You have to take a step back and look at it more closely. Celtic are the best team in the country at present. A lot of people would expect them to win the game on Sunday regardless.
“It’s probably true that if Graeme manages to win it, he stands a better chance of getting the job. But it would be wrong to judge the man over one game. Any fair minded person would look at his overall performance which I think has been good.
“His signings have been good, there has certainly been an improvement in terms of performances although, at Rangers, you are only ever one game away from a crisis. Losing to Celtic then losing to Kilmarnock recently was not ideal. But it shouldn’t be as simple as to say that because of that he doesn’t get the job.
“I don’t think a decision has been made yet. It would be extremely difficult to keep it quiet if one had been made.
“Dave King will let everyone know, when the time is right, what the plans to move forward will be. The timing of his statement was perhaps a little bit strange but he hasn’t said Graeme isn’t getting the job.
“A lot of people are just surmising. Dave King’s comments were correct in that the next appointment is absolutely vital for Rangers but that’s not to say it won’t be Graeme. People are jumping to conclusions.
“It’s difficult for me to say whether he’s done enough because I don’t know what the options are. I’ve heard the rumours about Frank de Boer, Derek McInnes has been mentioned again as has Alan Pardew.
“Only Dave King and the board can answer that. What I would say is that I don’t think Graeme has done his chances any harm at all since he came in.
“There is value in continuity as long as things are progressing in the right manner and you have to say Rangers are doing that. The question for the board is ‘are they doing it quickly enough?’ If not, do they believe someone else could come in and do it faster?
“The last two Old Firm games, the draw at Celtic Park and the 3-2 win for Celtic at Ibrox, could have gone either way. The gap has undoubtedly closed between the teams - whether it’s closed enough for Dave King and the board, only time will tell.
McCoist, speaking at a William Hill media event at Hampden, believes a resolution on Murty’s future should be reached before the end of the season.
“I can understand a decision on Graeme not happening right now but, at the same time, it’s only fair on him that it happens fairly soon,” he added. “He has handled himself really well since taking the job and deserves to know where his future lies.
“If he didn’t get the job, it would be then be up to him whether he wanted to go back to the under-20s at Rangers or get himself another manager’s job. He has certainly done well enough to get another club, there’s no doubt about that.”