Rangers fans 'within rights' to demand better - Graeme Murty

Rangers beat Hearts 2-1 at Ibrox to return to second place in the Premiership
Rangers beat Hearts 2-1 at Ibrox to return to second place in the Premiership

Manager Graeme Murty has no problem with Rangers fans demanding better as protest banners were on show at Ibrox for a 2-1 victory over Hearts.

The win lifts Rangers back into second place but there were empty seats after last week's heavy defeat by Celtic in the Scottish Cup.

"The fans are fully within their rights to do what they see fit," said Murty. "I'd never go against their wishes.

"But we had to generate an atmosphere in the changing room for ourselves."

A subdued home crowd saw little to raise spirits in a dull first half, with Hearts well-organised in defence.

However, goals from Jason Cummings and Daniel Candeias capped a much-improved second 45 minutes, although the visitors, who replied through Christophe Berra, were guilty of terrible marking for both goals.

Rangers were humbled 4-0 by Celtic in last Sunday's semi-final, while experienced duo Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace were then suspended as the club investigate a dressing room row with Murty.

Before kick-off, a display read: "No fight, no pride. Nowhere to hide. Incompetent on & off the pitch. We deserve better."

A second banner was hoisted from the same section in the Broomloan Road Stand as the second half got under way, stating: "Mindless behind the scenes, heartless on the pitch."

A section of Rangers fans signalled their displeasure at Ibrox
A section of Rangers fans signalled their displeasure at Ibrox

Rangers' next task is a visit to Celtic Park, with their Glasgow rivals aiming to wrap up a seventh consecutive title.

And Murty hopes his players have proven they retain a sense of togetherness after receiving flak for their display at Hampden.

"If we wanted something from them [the supporters] we needed to put on a performance and I thought there were times when we were on the brink of clicking into a high gear," said Murty.

"I hope the fans saw some passion and intensity and a bit of quality. I thought the players stood up after a hard week.

"I think it shows the dressing room is united. A lot of people outwith our dressing room have said a lot of things without knowing too much. But we have remained focused and just concentrated on the display.

"People outwith our group write a lot of stuff but they don't see them [the players] every day. They only see them on match day and make wild assumptions and sweeping statements about them.

"I know the qualities of the players in that group. They were hurting last week and showed a fantastic response for themselves and the football club."

Christophe Berra's header reduced the deficit but Hearts could not find another goal

Hearts reduced the deficit at Ibrox when captain Berra nodded in a Don Cowie free kick on 71 minutes and Kyle Lafferty almost conjured up an equaliser against his former club, striking the post with a curling shot.

Manager Craig Levein emphasised the need for good possession prior to kick off and was frustrated by the number of times the ball was given away.

"I thought we could have won the game today," he said.

"I didn't feel Rangers were at their best. We assisted them on many occasions by coughing up possession of the ball too easily."

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