Graeme Murty was delighted to secure a second win over Aberdeen inside the space of four days – and could not disguise his admiration for the squad of players that secured six priceless points over Rangers’ bitter rivals.
“I’m really pleased with the win,” explained Murty, “I’m proud of the players in the way they stood up to the challenge.
“When you go down to 10 men but go straight up the other end and score that is nothing to do with me, that is to do with what is inside the players.
“No matter what was thrown at them, through decisions or luck or anything like that, we stood up to it all the way through the team.”
The issue of back-to-back games against the same opposition is one that no manager likes to face – the Ibrox interim boss acknowledged the problems that can arise.
“They have been two very different games and two very different challenges, we saw different aspects of a team who are now back in second place in the League and displayed both quality and character.”
Murty was reluctant to discuss the controversial red card shown to Ryan Jack for a challenge on Stevie May but he did express sympathy for his player.
“I have a view on the red card, I think Ryan gets the ball before Stevie and he tried to play the ball. I haven’t seen it again.
“I don’t want to take the focus away from a sterling performance from some guys who have been questioned over the last few months. Let’s not make this about the red card, albeit I am disappointed for Ryan on his return. He had handled the occasion remarkably well up to then. He showed a degree of composure I’m not sure I would have been capable of in his shoes.
“The referee made his decision and we have to deal with the consequences of that decision. I thought it was harsh - but I am proud of the way the team stood up and stuck together when they were challenged in that way.”
Murty was keen to focus on the players rather than either himself or on refereeing decisions.
“Let’s congratulate the players on what they have done, they have grown, there is a degree of belief and grit that I can’t give them and no coach can give them, it has to come within. I thought the players were strong and that is to their benefit and credit. They refocused after the red card, dug in and showed a bit of character. They’re very happy with their day’s work.
“More than anything else I am thankful to them for the belief they have shown in me, and in each other, to go and get two fantastic results when they have been questioned deeply. That wasn’t easy so I think that was great. They showed today that they understand the expectations. None of the team hid – they’ve stood up in the last two games against one of our fiercest rivals.”
There was praise for youngster David Bates on his first appearance since Luxembourg.
“David was determined, he was strong, he won his battles. We need to fine tune a few things but the raw material is good. He stood up to the occasion.”
‘There’s only one Graeme Murty’ chorused the Light Blue legions at the final whistle - - but Graeme was equally full of praise for the travelling support.
“I will take lots away from this, not least the reaction I got from the fans today and I think it is important we recognise that as well. It’s been an honour and a privilege. It has been a unique experience.
“Coming here into a hostile environment and cheering your heart out for the team – I think they contribute so much to what makes this team great.”
Captain Kenny Miller was just as pleased as his gaffer at the past week’s work.
“We are delighted. Absolutely delighted to get six points out of six,” said the Gers captain, “It was always going to be a really tough week for us, two really hard games off the back of two poor results, and it doesn’t come much tougher than back-to-back against Aberdeen.
“It was important we showed a bit of grit and determination in these games – and won our battles first, and I thought over the course of those two games, it was those battling qualities which stood us in good stead to get us those results.
“We’ve shown some fantastic quality in these two games as well, but what you saw when we went down to 10 men is real grit, a real togetherness and a real determination from the group, and I am absolutely delighted for the boys to get that result.
“I’m delighted for the lads and it has been a really pleasing end to a tough week, and it’s nice to see us sitting in a more-elevated position in the League.”
There was nevertheless a touch of realism as Kenny reflected on the current situation.
“We need to recognise where we are at – we have won another two games in a row after two defeats. What this club needs to do is win big games, and if your backs are against the wall, you need to find a way, and that’s what we’ve done in these last two games.”
There was praise from Miller for many of his team-mates.
“Jason Holt, Ryan Jack and Ross McCrorie all played well in the engine room of the team and David Bates who hasn’t played for a long, long time because of injury. They all put in big, big performances and it speaks volumes for the group.”
Finally – there was an acknowledgement of the role played by Graeme Murty.
“It was a big call from Graeme to go the way we went on Wednesday night - but he stood by it and put the information across on how he wanted us to carry it out as it’s a complicated way of playing.
“If it his Graeme’s last game then everybody in that dressing-room would like to thank him for his efforts.“