GRAEME MURTY revealed his disappointment at only taking a share of the spoils as Rangers were held to a 2-2 draw with Southampton at Auchenhowie today.
A Rangers under-19 made a bright start in what was a competitive game throughout as Serge Atakayi opened the scoring, with the Premier League visitors equalising shortly after.
Atakayi then scored an even better goal in similar fashion to his first to give his side the lead at half-time before the young Saints pegged the Gers back late on in the second half – and Murty felt his side did enough to win the game themselves.
“I’m a little disappointed to be honest,” Murty told RangersTV. “I thought both goals we gave away where eminently stoppable and I don’t think they were great goals to concede. I thought we had more of the ball end of the second half.
“I’m a little bit upset to be drawing 2-2 to be honest, but they’re my former club so I guess it’ll be alright.”
Murty was delighted with the performance of two-goal Atakayi and revealed his coaching team are working on the youngster’s positional play to improve him on the pitch.
Murty said: “He did alright, we’re working on his movement a lot. He’s trying to be more proactive, before because he’s so quick he got away with standing around and then exploding. We’re trying to make him a bit more thoughtful about his movement and his movement was great so I’m more pleased with that than I am the goals.
“Having said that I thought he took both goals extremely well. So I’ll pat him on the back and get his feet back on the ground on Monday getting ready to work again because I thought he worked extremely hard for the team.
“There was a quite a few [that stood out] at different times. I think that’s something the players have just said in the debrief, they’re telling me that they think our variance is too high. In that, when we’re good we’re really good, and when we’re off it just a little bit it drops too much and I would say that each player in the team had that in the game. They had bits where they were excellent and bits where they weren’t quite at their level and it’s our job collectively to make sure we stay at that higher level for longer in the game.”
Ex-Southampton player Murty was pleased to have been given such a competitive 90 minutes from his former side and was adamant that games with opposition like this one will test the Auchenhowie stars in ways they might not get at home.
He added: “It was great, it was really good. That’s why we do it, that’s we go into the games programme because we want to go and make sure that we play against the best teams in Europe and we want to give them a different challenge. I said to the players at half-time ‘is it different from what you’ve seen?’ and they’re like ‘yeah, Scottish teams don’t do this’.
“Which is the reason we’re doing it, we’re not castigating Scottish teams in any way, we’re not having a go at Scottish football. We’re just trying to extend our players’ learning and making sure that they see as much as they can in different styles from around the world so they have a better education and a better chance of making it round to the first team side.
“Next for the games programme we go to the Copa del Agatha so our first game is against Club Brugge next Saturday, then we’re back in the Challenge Cup against Dumbarton. Then we’re away to Feyenoord the week after that so we’re seeing loads of different challenges, loads of different styles of play and the players are having to get used to travel and making sure they can still go and perform which is difficult for young athletes. It’s hard for established athletes but young people have to know how to manage that energy level so that they can go on and be excellent on game day.”