GRAEME MURTY hopes the players in blue will relish the challenge of playing in the red-hot Old Firm cauldron at Celtic Park this weekend

The Light Blues have suffered three defeats to their Glasgow rivals so far this season when Mark Warburton was at the helm, but Murty knows what the players will have to do if they are to take points from Sunday’s Premiership clash.

The club’s caretaker boss said: “I’ve got a clear understanding of what it’s going to take and I’ve got a clear understanding of some of the principles that I would like to instil in the players if I was to take charge of the game, and a clear understanding in my mind of what it’s going to take to get a positive result.

It’s not rocket science, you have to cope with what they are going to bring to the party and it’s down to players supporting one another and actually embracing the challenge and not being fearful.

“These are going to be really big elements, regardless of any tactical changes or formations or anything, it’s about players standing up at Parkhead and that’s going to be vitally important.

“The more I see of this game the more I’m convinced that we need to embrace more advanced techniques in getting into players’ minds and their mind set and hoping they will be mentally stronger and be better decision makers under pressure, because that is what it comes down to.

“The best players in the world make the best decisions 99 percent of the time and that’s why they are at the top of their profession.”

For Rangers fans it is difficult to erase the painful memories from the 5-1 defeat their side suffered on their last visit to Parkhead on 10 September 2016.


Murty insists this should not be a problem for the players in his squad and that, if anything, they should have learned a lot from mistakes made in previous Old Firm encounters.

He said: “As a squad you look at the reasons why, you look at when we’ve had success against them and when we’ve done well, and I’m a big believer in acknowledging what they are good at to prepare fully.

“So look at what they are good at and say ‘fantastic’, but once you acknowledge it and once you say ‘this is what they are going to try and do and this is where their strengths are’ you then make the players and yourself accountable to what happens after that.

The game previously at Parkhead isn’t something to be fearful of or to shy away from, it is something to learn from and if you are going to learn the lessons and go and move forward I think that is really important.

“I do think however that Celtic have changed since then, I think they’ve evolved.

“I think they’ve strengthened in certain areas, they do things slightly differently, so we have to just take what they are going to bring but try and understand that it’s going to be about us and how we manage our expectations of our group.”

Speaking to RangersTV on Tuesday, Murty insisted he hadn’t thought too much about standing in the technical area at Parkhead as he knows things could change at managerial level in the build-up to the big game.

He added: “No, I haven’t given it too much thought.

“I’ve been thinking about making sure we get this week right, making sure we get players rested right and making sure we start to up the tempo of work right and the prep will come a little bit later on.

“I’ve always said for me to project myself forward into that game [against Celtic] would be arrogant and presumptuous.

The closer it comes the more I will have to look at it, but until it happens I’ll just carry on and make sure that the players get what they need, because I’m sure that if I’m in the dugout there will be loads of emotions washing through me.

“But I have to make sure that the players get what they need and when I walk away from this role and I do whatever role I’m going to do, I have to take that away, that the players walk onto the football pitch get what they need 100 percent of the time and I’ve been guilty as a coach of being selfish and getting my frustrations out and you can’t do that.

“The best I have ever seen at it is Steve Coppell, he is very controlled with his emotions and you can never tell what he is thinking.

“I would hate to play poker against him, but he just tries to make sure that you get what you need and go and play the game.

“He really suppresses all of that and it takes monumental effort, but he’s fantastic at it.”


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