Rangers caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl insists Graeme Murty did a “great job” as Gers boss – but admitted the sacked 43-year-old’s failure to beat Celtic cost him his job.

Nicholl took the reins as the Gers hosted Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Saturday in their final home game of the campaign, grinding out a 1-0 win to put pressure on Aberdeen in the race for second in the Scottish Premiership.

The Ulsterman is adamant Murty performed well during his time in charge and insisted the former Gers youth coach had “difficult” things to deal with in the top job.

“Listen, I thought Graeme did a great job to get them into this position,” Nicholl said, as quoted by The Herald.

“I’m telling you it’s a difficult job. Believe me, it was difficult the things he had to deal with and handle, and he did it.

“But unfortunately he got beaten by Celtic and that’s it – it’s the be all and end all. You have to beat Celtic, to get in the cup finals you have to beat them, you have to beat them at their place to stop them winning the league. You have to do all these things.

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“But for what he did leading up to those games, I’m telling you he did a good job.”

Football Insider verdict

It wasn’t that long ago that Gers fans were hoping of a late title challenge before back-to-back Old Firm thrashings ended Murty’s time in charge. If things had gone different in March, then the Gers may not be sitting today with Steven Gerrard as manager. Murty done well as manager – despite how it ended – and the former youth coach deserves a show of gratitude from the Gers after stepping up to fill in as manager, twice, during his time with the Gers. It’s unclear what Murty will do next and if he will stay with the Light Blues and return to his old job of Under-20s head coach or move on to something new but, either way, Murty will have learned a huge amount during his brief time in charge of the Gers and it will surely stand him in good stead whatever he goes on to do in the rest of his career. With the Gers still largely a shambles on and off the pitch, who knows what Murty had to deal with behind the scenes and even experienced managers would no doub have a few sleepless if they had been in Murty’s shoes.

In other Rangers news, both the Gers and Celtic are in the running to sign this £100,000-a-week Premier League midfielder who will be available in the summer.

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