My players had to step up and take responsibility – and they did, says Murty

Posted Saturday, March 31, 2018 by PA

My players had to step up and take responsibility – and they did, says Murty

Manager Graeme Murty had to throw down the gauntlet to Rangers as they stared at a third straight defeat at Fir Park.

The Ibrox men again looked fragile against Motherwell following back-to-back defeats to Celtic and Kilmarnock.

Stephen Robinson’s well-drilled Steelmen looked set to capitalise as Curtis Main and Allan Campbell put them two up at the break.

But Murty decided against making a raft of changes as he got his players back into the dressing room at half-time, instead opting to throw the responsibility for rescuing the situation back to them.

And he got the response he was looking for as James Tavernier netted following a disputed penalty award six minutes in, with ex-Well hitman Jamie Murphy – back at Fir Park for the first time since departing for England in 2013 – sealing the 2-2 draw two minutes later.

Murty praised his men for fighting back after the interval, but admitted they only had themselves to blame for finding themselves in that perilous situation to begin with.

He said: “In the second half, I didn’t change anything tactically or personnel-wise even though I was screaming inside to take him off and change this.

“I actually challenged them to stand up and take some ownership and accountability – and they did that fantastically well in the second half.

“The players will reflect on a decent second-half performance, but we simply didn’t deal with what Motherwell threw at us in the first.”

Russell Martin’s clumsy barge on Chris Cadden handed Main the chance to slot home from the spot after nine minutes, while the big striker then played in Campbell for number two on the quarter-hour mark.

But Gers got their lifeline when Elliott Fear was harshly judged to have tripped Tavernier in the box, despite clearly getting a touch to the ball.

Rangers right-back chipped down the middle before Murphy rifled home number two.

The result does little to bolster Murty’s hopes of keeping his job beyond the summer, but the Ibrox manager hopes his side’s fightback will teach them a valuable lesson on the standards required if Rangers are to become a force again.

“We want to be better,” he said. “We want to be moving forward faster than we are. We want to be at the top right now.

“I think if we reflect on today’s lessons, it could be a really good thing for the squad.

“To be 2-0 down to a team that are physically really good, then stand up and come back could stand us in good stead for the challenges to come.”

Robinson felt referee Nick Walsh did Gers a major favour by handing them their penalty, but admitted responsibility for the failure to win lay with his men.

“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “I want to create a mentality in the dressing room that we’re not happy with just a point from Rangers.

“I’ve seen the penalty that was given against us. Elliott got the ball – but we haven’t lost three points because of the referee.

“We started the second half poorly. Against a good side with quality players we got punished for that.”


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