By James Black
Rangers legend Derek Johnstone has praised interim manager Graeme Murty for taking a huge gamble in leaving Bruno Alves on the bench for last weekend’s win over Partick Thistle.
The veteran Portuguese defender returned to the squad after suspension but was unable to displace Ross McCrorie or Danny Wilson from the starting XI.
Murty has taken charge of two games since Pedro Caixinha’s sacking a fortnight ago and has led the Gers to two wins.
Alves has been a mainstay in the Light Blues’ starting XI this season but Johnstone believes Murty made the right call in leaving the 95-times capped Portugal defender on the bench.
“For the Partick Thistle game last Saturday, and the Hearts match the week before to an extent, it would have been entirely understandable had he gone with the tried and trusted,” Johnstone said, as quoted by the Evening Times website.
“After all, he’s probably only going to be in charge for a short time so why take any huge risks.
“However, he’s not been afraid to make some big calls and the biggest so far was to leave Bruno Alves out the team last Saturday.
“Murty, and I greatly admire him for this, stayed with the centre-half partnership of Danny Wilson and Ross McCrorie at the expense of one of the summer’s marquee signings made by Rangers.
“I would love to have listened into the conversations when an interim manager told a player of Alves’s standing: “Big fella, I’m staying with last week’s defence. You’re on the bench.”
“That took a bit of guts.”
Murty is in his second stint in charge of the first-team this year after also being thrown in at the deep end following Mark Waburton’s resignation in February.
The former Scotland international has impressed with the club’s Under-20’s side since joining the club last August and has had a huge hand in several of the club’s Academy players stepping into the first-team squad.