DESPITE loss to Falkirk in the Development League on Tuesday evening Graeme Murty says he was proud of his players for adapting quickly to a new formation.

The Head of Development coach revealed he sprung a 3-5-2 system on his Under 20 side just two hours before kick-off and was amazed by the ownership the youngsters took – goalkeeper Robby McCrorie conducted part of the half-time team talk to organise his back three.

Murty believes it is important his players can adapt quickly to change and even though the result didn’t go in their favour he believes his experiment was beneficial.

The former Scotland international said:

“If I am honest the boys were unlucky not to win. We threw a lot of things at them last minute; we changed the formation and played a formation that they have never done before.

“We mirrored what the first-team did against St Johnstone and Celtic so they played with three at the back which they have never done.

“I basically did that to them two hours before the game, I showed them the shape, showed them the team-line and then asked them to go and accommodate it and I thought they did that remarkably well.

“Although there were a few teething problems there were early indications that were really encouraging in terms of them learning and sorting things out on the pitch, which was good for me to see.

“Anything we can do to accelerate their learning is important, they watch the first-team play so they were talking beforehand about the problems the first-team had seen and came up with their own solutions.

“We want them to be engaged in that way and we want them to actually come up with the ideas and come up with the solutions.

“We had it at half-time when Robby McCrorie was talking to his back players about how he was getting started with the ball on the white board and moving them about.

“He was saying “You need to be here” and “I want you to get there”, which was really good and as coaches we just facilitate that, tweak it at times and then just give them a gentle nudge to try and move them in a more productive way.

“To get them talking and interacting like that is a major factor in why we did it.”

Rangers’ next test in the youth league is to take on Celtic for the first time under Murty, who admits to being excited at the prospect of a first Old Firm at the helm.

He is keen to stress that while he is happy with his squad’s progress winning does matter and that will be all too clear next week against the youngsters rivals.

He continued:

“The soreness of losing will never go away but the manner in which they conducted themselves and they played was really encouraging and I was very proud of that part of it.

“Obviously I want to win and the want to win but some of the things they saw yesterday just showed the improvement they’ve made since the first game I was here, which was again against Falkirk.

“This will be my first game against Celtic and I am really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see what the challenge brings and I am already getting a feeling of excitement from the players.

“The players are already talking about it so it will be interesting to see their mental state and see where they are coming up to the game.

“I have no doubt that they will have nerves, anxieties and I just want to see how they react to it because it will be a whole new experience for me observing them in that environment.”

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