Murty reck­ons youthshake-up was over­due

Evening Times - - SPORT - By MATTHEW LIND­SAY

GRAEME Murty has hit back at crit­ics of Rangers’ de­ci­sion to pull out of the SPFL De­vel­op­ment League and in­sisted the rad­i­cal move will be re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing more play­ers who are ca­pa­ble of play­ing in the first team at Ibrox.

The Glas­gow club this sum­mer an­nounced their un­der-20 team would play friendlies against some of the big­gest clubs across Europe this sea­son in­stead of tak­ing on their lo­cal ri­vals.

They re­ceived per­mis­sion from the Scot­tish Pro­fes­sional Foot­ball League to re­move their side from the do­mes­tic set-up in an at­tempt to im­prove the stan­dard of their 17 to 21-year-olds.

That de­vel­op­ment has not been well re­ceived by ev­ery­one in Scot­tish foot­ball, but Murty, who has taken charge of the first team for the se­cond time in a year fol­low­ing the sack­ing of Pedro Caix­inha last month, is adamant it is al­ready pay­ing div­i­dends.

“We are try­ing to change what we’ve al­ways done,” he told the Train­ing Ground Guru web­site.

“We’ve opted out of the games pro­gramme to test this method and find out whether it works. We’ve played Man City, Liver­pool, Feyeno­ord, AZ Alk­maar.

“The best thing has been the dis­cus­sion among the play­ers af­ter­wards. Of­ten they say ‘we’ve not seen this style be­fore’ or ‘we’ve not en­coun­tered this prob­lem’. It’s chal­leng­ing them and they are re­ally en­joy­ing it.

“In terms of pro­gres­sion to the first team, we’ve had a mini suc­cess with Ross McCrorie, who’s es­tab­lished him­self, but it’s our job now to make sure this pro­gres­sion is con­sis­tent, that we are bring­ing through young­sters of the qual­ity and stan­dard and mind­set to be Rangers play­ers.”

Murty, who has been tipped to land the man­ager’s job on a per­ma­nent ba­sis af­ter lead­ing the first team to tri­umphs over Hearts away and Partick This­tle at home, is the lead de­vel­op­ment squad coach at Rangers and he be­lieves the Ibrox club is ben­e­fit­ting from plac­ing a greater em­pha­sis on youth de­vel­op­ment than it has in the past.

He also paid trib­ute to Caix­inha, who was sacked af­ter spend­ing lit­tle over seven months in charge last month fol­low­ing a dis­ap­point­ing start to the 2017/18 cam­paign, for the en­cour­age­ment he gave to the promis­ing play­ers com­ing through the youth ranks at Auchen­howie.

McCrorie, the 19-year-old cen­tre-half, this week ad­mit­ted that he would be for­ever in­debted to the Por­tuguese coach for giv­ing him his chance in the first team this sea­son.

“We’ve got Ross McCrorie, Jamie Bar­jonas and Ryan Hardie in the squad, which is fan­tas­tic to see, and Rob­bie McCrorie and Liam Kelly com­ing up be­hind them as well,” he said.

“If I’m look­ing at the un­der-20s, I’d say 95 per cent of them have trained with the first-team squad at some stage this sea­son, which is great.

“They get to see the best play­ers do­ing what they do and what it takes to stay there.”

Graeme Murty has ap­plauded the Ibrox side’s call to pit their youths against Europe’s elites

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