After winning six of his nine games in charge, Graeme Murty has been handed the job as Rangers boss until the end of the season.
Once of Pedro Caixinha’s biggest criticisms was his inability to win three-straight games this term. Murty has gone one better and before the loss to St. Johnstone he had guided the Glasgow club to four wins in-a-row.
While on paper it may not appear to be a massive achievement, Caixinha won back to back matches twice in the Scottish Premiership on two occasions this season before his dismissal.
The football on show, however, wasn’t always the easiest on the eye. After just two games in charge, you could see differences under Murty’s management and the players appeared to be reinvigorated.
He may not be the sexiest of names to takeover at Ibrox, but football shouldn’t be about reputation. It’s about the suitability and 42-year-old Murty ticks a number of boxes, even if many involved in the game seemingly feel the Development Team manager isn’t a long-term appointment for a club with aspirations of toppling Celtic and their dominance.
But Murty has already shown something previous managers at Ibrox have lacked: He knows how to unite a team.
It’s that strength in unity which will be important if Rangers are to rival Celtic down the line. They don’t have the finances that their neighbours do but, as shown countless times throughout history, a well-drilled team who are prepared to go above and beyond for one another can outperform the odds and cause an upset down the line.
The stand-in manager dropped Bruno Alves, a lieutenant to Caixinha on the pitch, in favour of trusting youngster Ross McCrorie alongside Danny Wilson at the heart of the Rangers backline for the 3-0 win over Partick Thistle.
Some may claim it was a power play but was it not a manager simply putting out a team he thought was best suited to getting him a positive result?
After all, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and even though Alves may be the better individual when compared to the 19-year-old centre-back, Murty must feel the team is stronger on the whole with McCrorie in the starting XI.
He restored Kenny Miller to the team after the veteran striker was banished under the previous regime. According to the Daily Record, Caixinha was insecure and believed the homegrown players didn’t make him feel welcome by defying his orders and showing no respect.
Miller was singled out for this and told to play with the youth team. Since he’s returned to the first-team fold he’s been instrumental in everything positive. He netted twice in the 3-1 win against Hearts and played a part in the opener against Partick.
He’s got the players on side and goalkeeper Wesley Foderingham claims he has the backing of the players: “He did a fantastic job the last time he stepped in and he is continuing that now. We have had a few good results and hopefully we can continue that. It is the same players, the same group. He has just tried to get us all together, get us passing the football and implementing our ideas. I think that was evident against Thistle.”
“Graeme is a really likeable character, I think that comes across from his interviews as well. The fans have taken to him, the boys have taken to him, so it makes for a very positive environment. I mean he’s standing in at the minute, and he has the support of the boys in the dressing room but that decision is not mine to make. The boys are behind him.”
The team appear to be on the same page with no divides in the group. There’s no politcal games being played and now is an ideal opportunity for Rangers to progress. It may continue with a new manager at the helm next season, but at this stage of the campaign, it’s the right decision, rather than rocking the boat.
Furthermore, there are a lot of players at the club who have the potential to improve, they just need to be nurtured properly. Murty, whose job it is to manage the development of individuals, is an ideal man to bring on these players. All in all it is a shrewd appointment from those in charge at Ibrox; he’s worth the gamble.