Rip up the loan, get him tied down long-term!

The arrival of Jason Cummings, the pursuit of Greg Docherty and the Alfredo Morelos “will he/won’t he” saga somewhat overshadowed the earlier signing of Jamie Murphy from Brighton in the January transfer window.

Much like his personality, he arrived (albeit with a slight delay) quietly and with the minimum of fuss, reminding us all that dreams do come true with an emotional message to his Dad.

In all honesty, what did we know about Murphy when he arrived? He’s had a decent career in England, he has improved since he left Scottish football, he was highly thought of by Brighton fans and positionally he was a much-needed left-sided midfielder.

What do we know now after just a few weeks of competitive action, bearing in mind Murphy has hardly played this season? He is quick, he can beat a man, he is an excellent passer of the ball, hard working defensively and it would seem, massively underrated by not only Rangers fans but Scottish football fans in general.

There is not many that would argue against him being the best wide player Rangers have had since Neil McCann. Lovenkrands, Novo and Aluko were square pegs in round holes. Barrie McKay? Not even close!

We’ve maybe had better players playing wide e.g. Steven Davis but not a natural wide player or winger that has been as good technically or as intelligent.

I love Daniel Candeias, he has shown that he has everything needed to be a quality player for us over the next few years. He has his strengths and we all know what they are, he loves his touchline and he loves a cross! I do him a disservice I know, until Murphy’s arrival I would have been quite happy awarding him the “best wide player since McCann” award.

One goal v Hamilton demonstrated almost every asset Murphy has. He dropped deep to give an option to Russell Martin, he then plays a simple pass and makes himself available again only to see an opportunity developing in front of him. He sprints 60 yards pointing to Tavernier where he wants the ball and plays a beautiful flick inside (without looking) for Windass to score. His final involvement showing a technical ability and vision that so far has been lacking this season.

Murphy is only going to get better. He’s got a couple of well-taken goals and a few assists now. He is looking more comfortable every week he plays and has started to strike up a relationship with Declan John. It’s no coincidence that John has become (a bit) better defensively since Murphy has arrived.

We have a threat down both flanks now, it isn’t as easy for teams to double up on our right-hand side to nullify Tavernier and Candeias. Candeias is the leading assist maker in the league but already Murphy’s statistics (courtesy of the excellent @TheGersReport on Twitter) are surpassing his, admittedly it is over a smaller sample of games though. If he maintains the impact he is having there is a genuine chance of the season finishing a lot more promisingly than it looked in December.

Earlier this season it looked like we were a few pieces short of a jigsaw, now it looks like all the pieces are there, we just need to fit them together in a way that creates the perfect picture – kind of like Rangers’ 4th goal v Hamilton on Sunday that Murphy was so heavily involved in.