DEJECTED caretaker boss Graeme Murty has told his Rangers players they will never get a better opportunity of beating Celtic.

The Ibrox outfit twice led against the champions, but eventually collapsed to a 3-2 defeat on home soil.

Brendan Rodgers’ team were without Jozo Simunovic for more than half-an-hour following his red card for a challenge on Alfredo Morelos.

But they still came back to overcome their nearest challengers with substitute Odsonne Edouard claiming the winner in the 69th minute.

Murty was left cursing the “schoolboy” defending that twice let the visitors back into the game.

Josh Windass and then Daniel Candeias put the home side into the lead only for Tom Rogic and Moussa Dembele replied with equalisers before the interval.

Murty said: “I’ve just told the players in the changing room you’ll never have a better opportunity to go and win the game. And we’ve let that opportunity go away.

“We’ve let it go away by not being very good at the basics and conceding three really, really poor goals.

“We started really well, obviously the stadium gets rocking after the first goal. But I thought after they scored their goal we didn’t get our composure back for 15 or 20 minutes.

“We go ahead again, but the momentum really changed on their second goal, which is a basic error in schoolboy defending.

“It’s a big opportunity that we’ve failed to grasp. I’m not sure that, when you’re looking back on your career, that those opportunities come along too often.”

Murty added: “We have to regroup and go again because, as I said to the players, every single person and their dog will tell us everything that they’ve done wrong and all the fundamental things that are wrong with the football club.

“We can’t let one result wash away all the good work we’ve done until this point.

“I’ve got a group of players who are hurting, frustrated and are wanting to do better. But we have to learn from it and the measure of the team will be how well we bounce back from that.

“I’ve already said that to them and I’ve got absolutely no doubts as to the character of the group.

“We will improve from this. Sometimes these knockbacks make you stronger as a group, a little bit hungrier to go and succeed.

“Every single supporter will be walking away from here as down as me.

“But the difference is I’ve got an opportunity to do something about it on Monday morning – making sure that group of players don’t stay in the doldrums too long.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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