GRAEME MURTY was happy as his resolute Rangers recorded a 2-1 win over Dundee United in the Reserve League.
Jack Thomson and Andy Dallas provided the goals in each half as the Gers picked up all three points at St Andrews University and held on for the win despite a late flurry of pressure from United – which included a Lewis Toshney goal.
Murty felt both delight and disappointment at the way he felt his side played for 70 minutes and then the final 20 minutes of the game as he spoke to RangersTV at the full-time whistle: “I’m disappointed actually that we didn’t manage to control the game a bit better towards the end,” Murty said. “But for 70 minutes I thought we were excellent, we really shifted the ball well and caused them lots of problems.
“If we’re going to be hypercritical, we need to get more goalscoring opportunities and be more clinical. The resolute nature of the players to go and get a win in difficult conditions against a strong team I thought was fantastic.
“The weather was a factor but they just have to deal with it. It’s one of those things. We just needed to make the game look how we wanted it to look and for 70 minutes, I thought we were really slick.
“We passed the ball really wide, good shape, moved the ball one and two touch and they couldn’t actually press us as they would want. So that was good but when it became a little bit frantic we lost our shape and structure, that came with senior players coming off.
“Our younger players have got to come on and match the standards that have already been set and they found that difficult. But we’re doing this to make sure they get exposed to this level, they get stretched and they increase their learning.
“I don’t think it was complacency [I the last 20 minutes] I think it was getting frantic because it was coming towards the final parts of the game. We got a little tired and a little sloppy with the ball and that allowed them to create pressure.
“When they created pressure we didn’t react to it as I would have liked, we got more frantic and slack with the ball. And that’s what’s going to happen. We have to make sure when people apply pressure to us we can deal with it – physically, tactically, technically – but mentally more than anything else.
“I thought the mental side of it let us down but another part of the mental side came into it where they stood up the physical challenge and put their bodies on the line. I have to say Aidan McAdams made a fantastic save towards the end and got us the win.”
With the season up and running, Murty is happy with the progress he is seeing from the young players, with the Gers embarking on a merged type of season with SPFL Reserve League participation combined with the Games Programme type of fixture from last year.
He said: “I’m seeing lots of progress and I’m seeing lots of learning. We’ve brought some younger players up today to make sure they get exposed to this kind of level. I see good understanding, things we want to implement tactically are now coming to fruition and we’re seeing a much greater deal of composure in possession, much more control of the ball and tempo than we saw at the start of the season and we’re seeing progression all the time. We just have to make sure this isn’t the highlight and we keep pushing on from here.”
Matthew Shiels and Stephen Kelly both started in the win and Murty expressed his happiness at securing the pair on extended contracts just last week.
He added: “They’ve been great since I’ve been in the building and obviously Craig Mulholland has known them since they were very very young. They’re good kids, they have the virtues of what we want in Rangers players.
“They both deal with the ball well, they’re both good young men that you like to have around the place. And we’re just pleased to get them signed up because we think they’ve got a big future and hopefully they keep progressing and see a pathway to the first team.”