GRAEME MURTY is disappointed that Joe Garner is suspended for Sunday’s Old Firm showdown after his impressive second-half hat-trick against Hamilton at Ibrox.

The combative striker netted three second-half goals after replacing Kenny Miller at the break as Gers beat Martin Canning’s men 6-0 to progress to the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Garner has scored seven goals this season, one of which was against Celtic back in September when he headed past Dorus De Vries.

However, the fans’ favourite will have to sit out this weekend’s derby which will give another Gers player an opportunity to shine on one of the biggest stages in world football.

Speaking to RangersTV, Murty said: “It’s a shame for him that he is going to miss out on an experience, it’s a shame for the squad that you take those goals out of the game.

“But I’m always been a firm believer that it’s a massive opportunity for someone to go and impress, and you couldn’t pick a bigger game.

What game do you come to Rangers to play in? You come to play in this game, so someone is going to get the opportunity to go and play against our biggest rivals, at their ground and put a shift in for the team and make a statement for his career and for the club.

“If I’m brutally honest, if I’m a player I’m thankful for that opportunity.”

Murty hopes his side can rise to the challenge this weekend and that they can continue to show the attacking intent displayed in the second half against Accies when five goals were scored.

The caretaker manager continued: “I don’t honestly think it is the system, I think it’s the fact that it’s an intention to go and play forward and through the lines and stay through the lines and create opportunities.

“I think the players are built in this squad to go forward, they are built to dominate the ball, they are built to create chances, they are built to make decisions and ultimately you have to at some stage give them the freedom to go and play and express themselves.

I think that Saturday was a really good indication of where the players are in terms of that expression of themselves, if you know what I mean, because we create lots of chances and you could almost see them wanting to do it again and again.

“We didn’t get our decision making right all of the time, but you are never going to and I would just encourage them to be positive when they get onto the football pitch and try to make things happen, which thankfully they did at the weekend.”

Murty admits he enjoyed watching his team produce a dominant, entertaining display in the Cup.

He added: “Well if I can’t enjoy that, if I can’t put a smile on my face after that, then I don’t think I ever will.

“I enjoyed the fact that the boys got a bit of credit and they got a bit of a release.

“I said to them that we need to start taking chances and be clinical and we were pleased we got so many goals, but I’m really pleased that we got a clean sheet.

“Wes has been outstanding in my opinion in some of the games, and he hasn’t deserved some of the results that we’ve had and it’s nice for him to get a clean sheet.

“But I thought the ways the players showed a lot of resilience, particularly when they were down to ten men, it showed that they have got it in them.”


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