Graeme Murty reveals he got ‘wee bit angry’ at Rangers players

Rangers forward Josh Windass won't make Saturday's game against Dundee and is a doubt for their Scottish Cup semi-final versus Celtic. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Rangers forward Josh Windass won't make Saturday's game against Dundee and is a doubt for their Scottish Cup semi-final versus Celtic. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
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While Rangers certainly produced a Jekyll and Hyde performance last weekend, it remains difficult to imagine the articulate and always courteous Graeme Murty possessing a darker side to his character.

But that is exactly what the Rangers manager says his players experienced at half-time at Fir Park when he addressed the failings which saw them trail 2-0 to Motherwell.

“That’s a side of me they wouldn’t have seen before,” admits Murty, who provoked the desired response from his team as they recovered to earn a 2-2 draw in the match.

“We’re all capable of being many different people,” he added. “You have to be able to utilise the right tool for the right situation and the time was right last week, I felt, to be a wee bit angry.

“I didn’t take a step back at half-time – I took a step forward and got in a few people’s faces and demanded a little bit more from them and they responded.

“It hasn’t been necessary before. When I’ve had to change things before, it’s been more tactical or personnel based. But I just felt we didn’t stand up to the challenge in the first half at Motherwell and I said to the players they had to step up because I couldn’t do it for them.

“The pleasing part for me is that they showed their level and showed the fact they can take it on board and go and influence the game. It’s not enough as a Rangers player just to take part in the game. You have to contribute something and do something and we had more players looking to do that in the second half which is pleasing.

“They knew at half-time it wasn’t acceptable. It was just down to me to reiterate it and give them some reminders as to what the game plan was and they went and executed it in the second half.

“You can cajole and change shape structurally but once they cross the white line the players have to step up and do it because I can’t pass the ball and put it in the net for them.

“You can be a nice guy but still be really demanding. When I have been demanding, the players have performed and when they don’t, then be in no doubt they will be told and held to account for their levels.

“But this is a job where you live vicariously. You rely on them to showcase your knowledge which is a difficulty at times, frustrating at times, but at other times immensely rewarding.”

Murty’s prospects of remaining at the helm beyond the summer have taken a dent in recent weeks with Rangers taking just one point from their last three games and slipping to third place in the Premiership table, just one point ahead of fourth-placed Hibs.

Ahead of today’s fixture against Dundee at Ibrox, Murty admits the 3-2 home defeat by Celtic on 11 March had a more telling effect on his players than he expected.

“Given the expectancy in the air going into the game and then us leading twice before coming away with a negative result has possibly had more of an impact than we had foreseen,” said Murty.

“But we have to reinforce the players’ belief in one another and in themselves and what we’re doing to continue our journey on an upward path.

“There’s lots of stuff we’ve changed and done that a lot of people don’t necessarily see that’s improving and getting better, but we have to make sure we back up it up by putting in the performances and getting the points.

“We haven’t managed to do that in the last few games but I still believe this group of players are capable of beating anyone in the country on their day.”

Josh Windass, pictured above, will miss out today with the thigh injury he suffered last week and is also a doubt for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic at Hampden next week. Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham missed training yesterday and will be assessed today.