When: 24th Feb 2017, 7:45pm
With the interim manager describing his reluctance to commit fully to applying for the vacant managerial position due to him perhaps “not having the right temperament,” the days that have followed last Sunday’s defeat at Dens Park have been ones of speculation regarding the role, rather than a full and justified post mortem of what can only be described as another below par, toothless display by the Ibrox men. With that in mind, it perhaps leaves a section of the Rangers support wondering why we have a man in charge who is doubting his own ability to fill the role? Reports also suggest the board fancy going down the Director of Football route, but that’s a whole other article.
Let’s make one thing clear; Murty didn’t ask to be launched head first into the position he finds himself, but equally as important, nor did he shirk the responsibility. From his two games at the helm he has scraped a nervy victory against Morton at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup followed by the afore mentioned defeat to ‘The Dee’. Rangers were so out of touch and off the pace at times, they looked like a side who had turned up for a pre-season friendly, with a reserve team, to play higher quality opposition! Such a questionable work ethic and lack of urgency is the main source of grievance from the Ibrox faithful, prompting social media to go into meltdown. “Do these players care?”, “Do they understand what playing for Rangers actually means?” and/or “Are they actually even good enough to be here?”
The one good thing about football is that generally in the thick of a busy season you have another game to put things right within a few days to a week. Rangers again have that opportunity at the Tulloch Stadium on Friday night against a Cally side low in confidence and languishing bottom of the SPL on 19 points, their last league victory away to Motherwell on the 26th of October. On paper this should be a no brainer with Rangers recording a comfortable victory, but things along these lines haven’t always went to plan this season as we all know and many of them under the stewardship of the former manager. An opening day 1-1 draw at home to Hamilton was an early marker for things to come.
Rangers welcome back captain Lee Wallace and defensive stalwart Clint Hill, and are buoyed by the news that Niko Kranjcar is back in training after a lengthy spell out. Wallace at least should provide balance, slotting in at left back as usual, and Hill (arguably Rangers best defender this term) will walk back into the centre of defence. The late arrival of substitute Harry Forrester last week showed good signs of energy and a willingness to run and find space, with him almost grabbing a late equaliser. So close was it in fact that it had Murty doing backflips…literally! Murty has said this week that Rangers will commit to a formation and style of football on Friday night. The formation has been switched to an old fashioned 4-4-2 in his last two outings, and things have perked up on the park.
At the end of the day, no matter the manager it’s up to the players on the park to “step up and play!” The much travelled and loyal Rangers away support deserve not only a victory, but a performance worthy of the long bus journey home from Inverness. There is no hiding place at Rangers, even a fans favourite can feel the backlash now and then as Andy Halliday will testify to over recent weeks. At least the interim boss has provided an honesty about his post/pre match interviews, something Warburton was guilty of lacking in, especially towards the end. However, it’s one of our former manager’s favourite sayings “We go again” that rings out this week. We do indeed go again, but hopefully not in the same vein as last week. The game is 90 minutes long and starts from the first whistle. Let’s hope Rangers do for a change.