This is the way (another) manager’s world ends at Rangers. Amid ridicule and in-house fighting.
All that seemed lacking as Graeme Murty toiled to prevent going the same way as Pedro Caixinha was some shrubbery.
The Portuguese was photographed seeking to placate fans following the 2-0 defeat in Luxembourg in July while standing in what seemed like a flower bed.
Murty was left badly exposed at Hampden on Sunday. There was no prop to hide behind. He didn’t seek to hide and deserves praise for that.
It’s a desperately unfair position into which he has been pitched. It was made more so following Dave King’s most recent statement.
The chairman appeared to thank the manager for his work to date while offering little hope he would be retained.
Amid further uncertainty created by an absentee owner, was there any surprise dissent spilled so freely during and after Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Celtic?
The fact King chose not to appear at Rangers’ biggest game of the season summed things up, as did his further silenceyesterday.
• READ MORE - Today’s Scottish football gossip: Miller facing sack, Wallace suspended pending inquiry, protest at Auchenhowie, Celtic eye Serb swoop and more
The sense of a club devoid of direction was painfully apparent on Sunday as Murty stood and watched the team he picked fall apart in front of his eyes. Behind him sat David Bates.
Despite signing for Hamburg last midweek the defender was included in the Rangers party at Hampden, which helped send out a confusing message. We’re all in it together until a better financial offer comes along.
Nothing wrong in this, of course. Bates, one of Rangers’ few players with potential, has every right to better himself. But it was another dismaying piece of news for the Ibrox fans – and Murty – to deal with in the run-up to Sunday’s game. Seeing the centre-half sitting in such public view in Rangers suit and tie as a furious Andy Halliday stomped up the stairs following his first-half substitution also seemed strange.
The last time Bates was sighted was in a photo tweeted by Hamburg announcing his pre-contract signing. What on earth is happening at Rangers?
Currently injured, it’s unlikely Bates will feature again for the Ibrox side. The same could apply to any number of others following Sunday.
What does Murty do with Daniel Candeias, who reacted to being replaced in the second half by heading straight down the tunnel? It’s still not clear who Hailliday’s ire was directed at.
But again, it was another unedifying spectacle, as was the post-match row between Greg Docherty and Alfredo Morelos that reportedly reached the point where they had to be separated in the tunnel.
Then there’s Kenny Miller’s wife’s decision to go public with her thoughts on her husband’s treatment at being left on the bench.
Laura Miller tweeted her disgust that such a “big game Old Firm” player had been left kicking his heels. She must have considered the ramifications and the fact she was adding to the grief being visited on Murty.
In isolation, each incident amounts to not very much amid the cut and thrust of a derby. But when they are all put together and added to the 90 minutes of chaos on the pitch, they help form a vivid impression of a club where indiscipline and cliquish behaviour is rife. Murty has little relief. Should Celtic fail to get the win at Hibs they need to clinch the title, he will be expected to take Rangers into a lions’ den the following weekend.
Celtic Park will throb with expectation whatever happens. The home fans never tire of handing out thrashings to Rangers whether their side are freshly crowned champions or not.
Either way, on the back of such a drubbing, Rangers must somehow find leadership.
Aye Ready? Aye rudderless.