It is not like the unfailingly polite and gregarious Graeme Murty to have a little nip at any other clubs. That’s not been the way in his period as interim Rangers manager that is 30 days... and counting. Yet, it was curious, to say the least, that yesterday he chose to invoke Paris Saint-Germain’s 7-1 crushing of Celtic when considering what the Ibrox men require to do better.
There were many issues to consider as Murty prepares his squad for a trip to Dundee tonight that follows on from a dispiriting 2-0 home loss to Hamilton Accies last weekend. The club’s seemingly going-nowhere-in-particular search for a new permanent manager was one, with Alex McLeish now bookmakers’ favourite as no approach for Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes has materialised.
Murty’s own feelings on that not being concluded before the double-header against McInnes’s men next week another. And the fact that his team could dominate Hamilton for 45 minutes and still lose a first Ibrox league game against Accies at Ibrox since 1929 another. It was in respect of that disintegration Murty shoe-horned in a reference to PSG’s slaughter of Celtic at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. It seemed gratuitous, and of little relevance.
“What we need to do is be more resilient [if going 1-0 down] and come back. We need to have a bit of the PSGs about us,” he said. “I just thought they showed a fantastic response after going a goal down so early in the game. They trusted the players, they trusted their methods and they were open, expressive and brave.
“Albeit, they have a £200 million man [Neymar] who makes a slight difference but other than that the attitude and application after going a goal down is what you what have expected. There was no change in method or tactic, they just believed in what they were doing. When you have a team that believes in themselves it translates into good performances.”
Similarities between PSG and Rangers do not extend further than the two are professional football clubs. Murty did say that, whatever the travails of Brendan Rodgers’ team, targeting a return of Champions League nights to Ibrox is “what this club needs to be about”.
“Although it was difficult for them across the way the other day, we would love to be in the situation to play against those top clubs like they did,” he said.
The reality is that still seems a lifetime away for Rangers. The here and now is that the club’s support would settle for having a permanent manager of promise in charge. Murty appreciates patience might be wearing thin but maintained “we have clarity in the fact that the process is ongoing”.
“What we don’t have is a resolution,” he said. “It would be good for all involved if we had someone in place, whether that be me or someone else. But until that happens we are coping. We are actually moving forward.
“I know the fans want a resolution. It will happen when it happens. Until that time a lot of useless speculation and names will be thrown into the ring but until the announcement comes out I can’t focus on that although I do appreciate where the fans are coming from.”
Murty was on more solid ground in taking aim at erroneous reports that Bruno Alves, pictured, had refused to sit on the bench last Saturday, Ross McCrorie and Danny Wilson having being preferred. The Portuguese Euro 2016 winner missed out with a back complaint that will prevent him from travelling to Dundee, and the Ibrox caretaker won’t take lying down any suggestion to the contrary.
“I am going to sound like a really bad parent, but I wasn’t really angry, I was more disappointed to see [the reports], because they are palpably untrue. Two papers have led with the story, one paper since then has printed an apology, the other paper has yet to print an apology, which we will be pushing for. You are impugning the character of a European champion, the integrity of a person who is a consummate professional. It is wrong. And for someone to go and print that story, with no basis in fact, is disappointing to me personally and to the club I think it is very disrespectful. More importantly, to the player, I think it is properly out of order.
“Bruno is not incensed, but his words were that in all of his career, he has never once refused when he has been part of a squad to be any part that coach has given him. The story does him a massive disservice.”