Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Murty's midfield mayhem

If one thing stood out on Sunday at Ibrox, it was the first absence from the first team of the previously outstanding Greg Docherty.

The 21-year old, praised by Murty midweek for maturity, found himself benched to make way for the man who lost his place in turn to him; Jason Holt.

To Graeme Murty’s credit, Holt’s performance, while limited, saw the best of Graham Dorrans, regardless of what tactics the ex-Norwich man did or did not follow – there was no doubt Holt’s presence married better with Dorrans’ style than Docherty’s has.

In short, both Holt and Dorrans actually had rather decent games against one of the SPL’s most stubborn sides, even if all of us fans are screaming for Dorrans to be used in a more advanced position by default.

But where does all this leave Docherty, and just why did the brilliant and combative midfielder find himself benched?

If we look at the conspiracy angle, he and fellow sub Alfredo Morelos definitely had some sort of tussle on the half way line at full time last weekend. Docherty has, according to Murty, denied anything happened in the tunnel, but suspiciously we have not heard from Docherty himself directly about this. The fact both found themselves in the dugout was extremely telling.

And from a football point of view it’s an odd one. Dorrans’ presence has definitely disrupted Docherty, who struggles to play alongside the 30-year old. Holt seems to blend better with him, while Docherty’s own rhythm goes as astray and Dorrans too struggles to have impact.

But prior to Dorrans coming back Docherty was one of this calendar year’s best performers. Just like his partner in crime Goss, a loss of form, for whatever reason, over the course of a couple of matches, has seen him lose his place, and it wouldn’t surprise us at all to see Holt start next Sunday’s critical Old Firm title win prevention outing.

It’s a big call. Docherty is a huge player, and a technically excellent one – he reads the game, has pace, and frankly is a better all round player than Holt. Few could argue that point. But somehow Holt, with a solid display v Craig Levein’s men, has propelled himself back into the limelight – albeit we cannot begin to guess what prompted Docherty’s place on the bench.

It does seem, under Murty, that Dorrans will be keeping that slot in midfield whether we like it or not. And if that is the case, Docherty will continue to struggle alongside him and may find Holt starts a hell of a lot more matches.

It’s not ideal, and it’s wasting some of our best resources, but generally we can’t complain too much if Rangers keep up the wins.

Problem is, we really cannot see that happening anyway.

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