GRAEME MURTY, who will return to his role as Under-20s coach today, admitted he was proud of his Rangers players as he ended his interim spell in charge with a 1-1 draw against Celtic.
Incoming boss Pedro Caixinha watched from the Parkhead stands as the visitors came from behind to earn a point after Clint Hill’s late strike cancelled out Stuart Armstrong’s opener.
Murty reckoned the Ibrox men answered some of their pre-game critics.
He said: “I am so proud of the players and I want to pay a load of compliments to them.
“Craig Gordon made two magnificent saves and I thought we deserved that goal.
“I said to the players that it will need a lot of belief to come here. We had to continue to believe and stay together and I thought the goal encapsulated that and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
“The lads know what people have been saying about them, so I said that they needed to take a full part in this game and that they can make a real good statement about where they can go from here and they did that.
“It shows what they can achieve if they stay together and execute things.
“It was about time they got their rewards because they haven’t had many of late and it’s a nice way to finish off.
“It was great for me and I really enjoyed the experience. I want to thank the fans and players again because they have been fantastic for me.”
Celtic reckon they should have been awarded a late penalty-kick after Clint Hill brought Leigh Griffiths crashing to the ground.
Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers claimed the Ibrox defender told him he “got away with it”, but Murty was unsure when he was asked about the incident.
He said: “Possibly. Rangers TV tell me it was an outstanding tackle, but they’re bound to say that.
“You get them and you don’t get them. Things happen in the game and we’ve had some hard knocks.
“Celtic will no doubt say that it should have been, but I’ll just enjoy the moment if that’s okay.
“I’m pleased for the players. I thought they showed a degree of tenacity and grit that they have been questioned about and challenged about for a long time.
“They stood up in a difficult environment and managed to get something from the game.
“And I thought without two outstanding saves from Craig Gordon they could have had more.
“It took a real man’s performance to go and play in that and stand up against a very good team and get something from the game.”