Rangers boss Graeme Murty says Celtic ‘are top of the league for good reason’

Rangers manager Graeme Murty (SNS)
Rangers manager Graeme Murty (SNS)


RANGERS Boss Graeme Murty sidestepped the notion of a Ladbrokes Premiership title race after his team moved to within six points of leaders Celtic with a convincing 2-0 win over Hearts.

Jambos keeper Jon McLaughlin was in terrific form at Ibrox but even he could not keep out Jamie Murphy’s fine solo goal before the break and an 88th-minute effort by defender Russell Martin.

Celtic take on third-place Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday but Murty would not be drawn on a possible title challenge from the Govan side, who have suffered just one defeat in their last 10 matches.

He said: “You guys can say that all you want. As far as I’m concerned they (Celtic) are still the team to beat at the top of the table.

“I’m not sure that we are even in Celtic’s minds.

“They are top of the league for a good reason.

“They will take care of themselves and play as well as they possibly can.

“All we can do is worry about us and make sure we do our job and I thought we did our job today and that is the message we will take on.

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes preparing to face Celtic’s strongest side once again

“We will just concentrate on us and make sure we finish the season as best we can.

“There will be very many interested eyes from our group on that game tomorrow.

“But our group have to take solace and comfort from taking care of the business that they can take care of- and maybe they haven’t in the past – and that is the really pleasing thing for me. ”

Murty was keen to stress that there was room for improvement in his side.

“It was a thoroughly professional performance but I still think we can get better,” he said.

“As good as we were at times and as many chances as we created, I have a group in there who are a little bit frustrated because they know they can do better in all aspects of the game which, for me as a manager, is a very happy thought.

“Under some pressure, when things weren’t quite clicking at times, the guys found a way to still score goals and create chances against a very stubborn and well-organised opponent.”

Hearts boss Craig Levein conceded that his side were fortunate to escape with only a 2-0 defeat.

He said: “Truthfully, we probably got away with one today. Two-nil flatters us.

“I thought our goalkeeper was excellent as were John Souttar and Christophe Berra.

“So probably our best players were defenders and the goalkeeper and that tells you pretty much about the performance today.

“We had a 10 to 15 minute spell in the first half where we had opportunities but we didn’t capitalise on it.

“I thought we would have more concerted pressure but we didn’t really.

“Any time we showed composure it looked like we might get something and we missed a couple of chances but Graeme will say the same, they had more opportunities than us by far.”