WHILE insisting today’s win over Hearts wasn’t perfect, Graeme Murty saw ‘good signs’ as Rangers returned to winning ways.
Second half goals from Jason Cummings and Daniel Candeias had Gers deservedly ahead, and while Christophe Berra pulled one back for the Jambos, the Light Blues could and perhaps should have increased their advantage further.
Speaking after the match to RangersTV, Murty said: “I thought the circumstances were difficult in the game and in the stadium, but I asked the players to stick together and deliver intensity throughout the game, and then be brave and play.
“I thought it wasn’t perfect, but there were good signs of the kind of characters that we brought into the game, and they managed to handle it and but for some wasteful finishing and some last-ditch defending, I thought we could have been out of sight.
“I said to the players, you are going to have do something. You are going to have to generate atmosphere – and you are going to have to generate that through your quality.
“You are going to have to run through a brick wall if you have to, you are going to have to smash into tackles, you are going to have to be brave, physically, to go and hit people in tackles, you are going to have to take the ball under pressure and you are going to have to be brave to get on it after you make a mistake.
“I thought it was telling that, although there were some misplaced passes, nobody hid – nobody went into a position where they couldn’t receive the ball.
“We need to move it faster at times, but that was pleasing for me.”
The quality of both goals pleased the manager, who added: “They were great, and but for a little bit of wasteful finishing or poor pass selection in the final third, we could have been way out of sight against a team that set up to be hard to play against.
“They frustrate and they don’t seem to concede lots of goals – I think we counted it as 27 goalscoring opportunities we had today – and that wouldn’t have put us into an edgier part of the game when we conceded.”
The game could have become nervy once Hearts pulled a goal back, and but for a Kyle Lafferty effort which came off the post, the Edinburgh club were limited to very little.
Again, that cheered Murty who continued: “We managed to keep the ball better. I was going mad at one stage as Jamie Murphy whipped a corner straight into the goalkeepers hands when I would have preferred it to have been played short.
“Those are little bits where, in the heat of the battle, you make decisions you maybe wouldn’t if you were thinking about it.
“But, I have got to back the players and give them massive credit. I thought they stood up today and did themselves the world of good.
“It has been a difficult week and I said to them, if you come through this week and you come out of it with a positive, then you will be so much stronger for it.
“I know I would be, and I think the players will as well. We needed a response and listen, it was difficult last week, there is no doubt about it.
“We were upset we didn’t represent ourselves or the football club in the manner we wanted to and I said the first step was to go and deliver intensity today as well as a high-pressing game and a high-tempo game, and the guys did that throughout the game.
“Obviously, we made mistakes at times, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort or urgency, and I think the fans saw that hopefully.”