After the hectic nature of the January transfer window, things seem to be almost calm at Rangers just now. A number of games have been played in recent weeks which has obviously been the focus, and there’s been reasons for positivity from performances. The bid for Alfredo Morelos seems to be chased away as things stand, although there’s always a chance a club will test those waters again. Right now, it seems that Mark Allen, Graeme Murty and the players are being left to get on with things.
And that means that every interview or comment is scrutinised with a higher level of interest. We wake up thinking about Rangers, go to bed thinking about Rangers, and want to talk about Rangers all day long. Any time there’s a bit of a lull from a big story, the seemingly innocuous ones will be debated more.
I believe that’s where we are with regards to recent comments by Graeme Murty on Greg Docherty. In both of his starts, Murty has mentioned him and elements of the game he wants him to improve upon after the match. It’s not something new for Murty – he’s spent a lot of time discussing the performances of Windass, for example – but it does seem to have caught a bit more traction in the media and among the fans. The purpose of this article is just to give an opinion on that, and what I believe Murty is trying to achieve.
We all know that the mainstream media in Scotland need to sensationalise everything. They think it’s the way to make money and get readers, and that’s a whole other debate. What they are very culpable of, though, is using headlines to twist what’s been said and make it seem like there’s far more going on. Even if you’re not convinced of an agenda, it’s fair to say that there’s been a number of instances you can readily point to where the tone and wording is very negative. Yet again, that’s being applied to the Murty comments yesterday.
Having watched the interview on Rangers TV, Murty was simply describing what was going wrong from a team perspective in the first half, and how he tried to address that. He was telling us, the fans, that Greg Docherty was just trying a bit too hard to impress, and was much better in the second half as he took on board the advice. The media have made this out to be some sort of huge criticism, with one tag-line saying Docherty “has to chill out if he wants to make it as a Rangers player”.
That is a very selective take on the insight Murty provided. If anything, Murty was praising Docherty for the way he reacted in the second half. But let’s be honest here, the headlines were never going to say “Murty praises young Scottish midfielder for excellent second half”, were they? Why go for the good news when you can make hay out of a soundbite?
The only reason I mention this is because it can shape fan opinion. If the general consensus is that Murty is criticising his players in public, many Rangers supporters will see that as a negative. We don’t all have the time or inclination to read or listen to every interview, and that means you can be influenced by lines like that. That’s not a criticism of the individual, but more of the general feeling around Scottish football.
Graeme Murty enjoys going into detail about the team. He’s trying to ensure his players, especially the younger ones who need to be kept grounded, understand the levels required. He’s also trying to educate the fans, and give us a better idea of what he’s asking of the players. That’s a good thing, because we’re all prone to judging a player’s performance on what we believe they should be doing, rather than from knowledge of what they’ve been asked to do. It’s refreshing to hear a manager go into that detail and not treat fans like idiots. It allows everyone to hear what he’s looking to achieve, and adds to the excitement around the potential of the team and players.
This isn’t a manager throwing a player under the bus. Graeme Murty has praised all of his players, whilst reminding some (including the fans) that there’s work to be done. In my opinion, that’s a more than justifiable approach.
But as always, I’m keen to hear the views of others. Do you think Murty is right to go into this sort of detail? Do you think his comments on Docherty were ill-advised? Throw myself or the page a tweet and we’ll be happy to discuss.