OF all the terrific aspects to Rangers’ performance in their 3-1 win over Hearts at Murrayfield on Saturday, one stood out above all else to Graeme Murty – character.
The interim Ibrox gaffer was thrilled with the way his side came back from going a goal behind to Kyle Lafferty’s stunning free-kick in the first half, and believes they could have won the game even more comfortably.
He explained: “Going behind, and everything that has been said about the squad from outside and me not knowing the squad maybe as well as last time, they were put under a bit of pressure and there was a demand put upon them by their goal, and I thought they responded to it very, very well.
“I thought it would have been very hard on them not to come in at half-time level, and then in the second half, I thought they really accelerated away with some good play, and we could have got more goals.
“Having done the analysis with the guys there, I think when we sorted out our style of dealing with their assets and how we initiated our attacks – once that improved and became cleaner, we dominated the game and had numerous chances to go and win the game.
“I showed the boys some of our passages of play which were very, very good, and that now needs to become the normal default setting to actually play and shift the ball quickly as the players have been brought into the football club to do that, and I thought at times, they did that very, very well.”
In addition to that, Murty has heaped praise on his backroom team for their efforts in the hours before the game in ensuring his players were entirely prepared for what Hearts would throw at them.
He added: “Footballers always get the praise, but there are little bits in the analysis where we need to praise our support staff – Steve Harvey did a fantastic job with Neil [McIlhargey] clipping some of Hearts’ good patterns of play and some set plays that they like to do, and it shows that the lads paid attention to it.
“They were very diligent in their approach as some of those things were snuffed out at source and it means not only did the players go and perform, but they paid attention in the briefing to make sure they understood their opponent, and for them to go and implement that at the highest level was really, really pleasing.”