Graeme Murty: I’m a better coach and better person after managing Rangers

The last time Graeme Murty was at Celtic Park, it did not end well.

Rangers' U20s player Cameron Palmer with coach Graeme Murty ahead of the Glasgow Cup final. Picture: SNS

The 5-0 defeat by Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic gave the Parkhead side their seventh successive title and, coming hard on the heels of a 4-1 loss to Rodgers in the Scottish Cup semi-final earlier that month, proved to be the tipping point for Murty in the caretaker Rangers managerial seat.

With little ado, Murty took a break before returning to his former under-20 role at Ibrox. He will be back in the dug-out at Celtic Park this evening as Rangers play Celtic in the City of Glasgow Cup final.

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Regardless of how the game unfolds the experience will be entirely removed from the public nature of his humiliations almost exactly a year ago. Twelve months on, there has been a chance to reflect in private after a harrowing experience when he was thrust back into the manager’s seat on another interim basis.

A furious bust-up with Kenny
Miller led to the now Dundee striker being sacked by Rangers in the aftermath of the Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic, while Lee Wallace was suspended too by the club for his part in the dressing-room 

If Murty lends the impression of a man who is content to leave the headlines for others, he has nevertheless declared himself enlightened by his experience despite the fraught nature of what he endured.

“I learned a great deal about myself, about football and I learned a great deal about players,” he said.

“I think I am a better coach and a better person for it. I am certainly more wise. I have improved my practices in and around the place but going back into it felt very natural.”

Whether Murty fancies another crack at first-team management remains to be seen. Tight-lipped on his future plans, Murty accepted his pro-licence at Hampden on Sunday afternoon alongside Celtic
coach Stephen McManus, with Sunderland manager Jack Ross also in attendance. If he feels as though there are unfulfilled ambitions in that regard then he is reluctant for it to distract him from a role this season that has given him the chance to catch his breath after the intensity of last season.

“I have always said I want to be the best coach I can be. I think I am getting there and I am improving all the time. I serve the players well and I put on sessions that improve them,” he explained.

“The club have worked very hard to make me feel valued and wanted.

“I have appreciated that 
but the important thing for me is seeing young players improve and get better every day. That speaks volumes 
for the work that goes on that no-one sees.

“I don’t know [if I want to go back to first-team coaching]. This is consuming me. I want them to finish the season well. They deserve the focus to be on them. I’ll get the season by and then look at me.”

Rangers chairman Dave King called Murty his “man of the year” at the club’s annual general meeting earlier in the season for the manner in which he was willing to stick his neck out last term.

“I appreciated that sentiment,” said Murty. “It certainly took me by surprise. That statement meant a great deal to me and it has meant a lot going forward. Working for this magnificent club, I feel at peace and that I am in the right place but I am at my best servicing the players. They are growing significantly and we are making great strides. But they need my focus for the rest of the season.”