GRAEME MURTY has praised all three of Jason Cummings’ finishes in his hat-trick this evening, with the manager believing he now understands the striker better.
Cummings’ treble as well as an Aaron Muirhead own-goal secured a 4-1 quarter-final win and safe passage to the semi-finals, where Rangers will face Celtic.
And, while knowing the striker will keep reminding him about his treble, Murty was thrilled with his contribution tonight.
He joked to RangersTV: “I’m already hearing about it and he’s moaning that the referee took the ball of the pitch before it could get to him!
“Jimmy Bell’s now saying he can’t get the ball! He’s a big guy and a big character, and he shows the difference between strikers and those who aren’t.
“His finishes all show different aspects – the quality of his first where he takes an extra touch and then picks his spot, the second one where he just passes the ball in the corner where a less experienced guy might have lashed at it, and the third, where he actually takes a chance that the keeper is going to make a good save.
“I’m looking at him and I am really now starting to understand what he can bring – I didn’t ask him to be a winger as he’s not – I asked him to almost be an inside forward, and I thought he played the role really, really well, albeit, we need to get our out of possession stuff for him a little bit clearer and a little bit sharper so that we can stop people playing out quite so easily.”
While pleased with Cummings, Murty believes the rest of his side’s overall play could have been better, adding: “We are through to the semi-finals without actually hitting the heights that we are capable of. We created lots of chances and had some good stuff going forward, but it was a frustrating day for me as I thought we were a little bit off and a little bit sloppy at times – possibly a little self-indulgent and slow.
“But, we did more than enough to win the game.”
And the fact Rangers scored four without being at their best also pleased Murty, who added: “That alludes to the threat we carry with players able to go and create chances with willing runners, and we have some strike-force now to go and challenge for places.
“But, I still think we can be better in so many aspects of the game – particularly our pressing and our organisation. I thought we were so sloppy off the ball at times, but we have been professional and gone and got the job done, though I thought we made it more difficult than it might have been.”