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.


  1. I like Docherty and believe he will have a big future in front of him. However, he took stage-fright twice in a row against Celtic and I would play him this weekend. Holt, for me, was a standout against Hearts. He links defence with attack strengthen any of our current crop of midfielders. He never hides and covers more ground thAn Nyone in the team! Crucially, this seems to allow Dorrans to be more attack orientated than we've seen since he signed. So Holt and Fire and must be the CM duo on Saturday. If I thought he wouldn't freeze, I would be tempted to play Docherty instead of Windass.BUT ONLY, if Murty took the shackles off Dorrans and let him play further up the park!

  2. I am not a Holt fan, skill wise he is limited, (but with a quality coach he is young enough to improve), however against Hearts there is no doubt that he was in there, covering every bit of grass and making some telling interceptions. For me I would have him and Docherty together and would play Dorrans further up teh park, most likely in place of Windass who simply does not give enough for me during the 90 minutes.

  3. I have always thought we play better with Holt in the team. He controls the tempo of a game and the squad can pass the ball to Holt knowing he will use it well. He is a good pivot in the middle of the park and keeps the team ticking. He lacks in strength and height but we dont have another player like Holt in our squad. Docherty and Dorrans are more robust. I would be happy for him to play at the weekend.

    • Fair points, I just feel that physically Holt's far too much of a lightweight to compete with Rogic, Ntcham, McGregor etc; has looked well out of his depth every time he's faced them. Docherty & McCrorie double DM pivot would be best option on Sunday, but of course these guys have to turn up and assert themselves; otherwise it wont matter much in the end.

  4. First who ever he picks they better grow a big pair balls for the weekend game there will be no hiding place for any of them,we need them to be men not boys.

  5. After the last few games, Holt has to start this weekend. His energy and awareness will be crucial but more tellingly, he doesn't give the ball away anything like a cheaply as Doc. Clearly Dorrans benefitted from playing alongside him and was able to execute the role Murty wants him to perform far more effectively.

  6. I am a Docherty fan..I think he actually play a lot more and would have him against The Rotten Mob and Holt with Dorrans further forward . Windass can make way .

  7. Holt is physically weak. Can’t ping balls across the park or have a shot from outside the box. He’s weak in the tackle and could be brushed aside by my old granny running for the bingo bus. He gets about the pitch but had very limited in ability. Not good enough and never will be.

    Dorrans has been piss poor since he arrived. Not a strong runner, to say the least. Stands off the opposition and isn’t one for a physical challenge or ‘scrap’. Poor attitude to the game. Never a central holding midfielder in a million years. Doesn’t have the attributes. Simples.

    Docherty is one for the future. He has the physical & technical attributes and had the mentality to get involved in a scrap if that’s what it comes down to. Sometimes tries a bit too hard by running about chasing shadows. Must learn when to sit and when to press.

    McCrorie is the only central midfielder we have that fits the bill. All action and like Doc needs to know when to jockey and when to tackle. His tendency to dive in regardless will see him get seriously hurt some day. That said, his attitude and commitment is to be admired. Build a team around him I say…but not at CB.

    Halliday, aka the luckiest boy in Glasgow. Pure dross on every front. Ta ta.

    Windass, never a midfielder or winger. Got to play behind the striker with little defensive duties, aka a luxury player. Has all the physical & technical attributes needed but his mentality and attitude is debatable. Finds it far too easy to drift out of games. Needs to find a way of affecting the game when he’s quiet. Jury remains out.

    Candeias, flatters to deceive. Works hard and hasn’t decent ability. Too often wants to play wee triangles with tav instead of being aggressive in his play and commuting full backs. Bang average.

    We need a solid pair of holding midfielders who are physical, aggressive and tidy on the ball offering protection for the defence and a spine for the team in transition. Until we have that we will continue to bemoan the CB pairing and whinge about our striker having to drop deep to avoid becoming isolated. We are totally dependant on the wide players and full backs providing the impetus going forward in lieu of having a midfield who can find space and play through the middle.

  8. I'm of the opinion I'd pick Holt over Docherty for the same reason I'd pick Cummings over Morelos.

    That's because of form. Morelos and Docherty haven't been great of late. And Cummings and Holt were both standouts in our last outing.

    What's the point of having a competitive squad if players performing poorly are always selected, and those that perform well are dropped.

  9. The midfield is open to debate but if murty watched how Hibs lined up against the scum we must play two up front thats the way Lennon put the pressure on their back four as a result the scum were forced to knock long balls and the majority of them were won by the hibs Brown was absolutely rotten and didnt try a leg Mcginn was all over him so he didnt get time to cruise about and strut like the fanny he is but I am concerned about Murtys ability to recognise what he has to do

  10. It’s good to have problems about who to play again … hopefully it will be even worse next season with players in every position

  11. It's not the midfield I'm worrying about, its our defence! Murty seems to continue with McCrorie and Martin when both of them are just rotten as centre halves. They were woeful against shellic and were found wanting against the tarts. If he plays them at the piggery, then we might as well hand the beggars the title,,again!!
    Send Martin home and push McCrorie up to DM where he is quite effective.
    I know our season is finished, but to ruin their party on Sunday would be a tiny consolation of what has been a wasted opportunity of a season! But I won't hold my breath!

    • When the midfield is as poor as ours has been with players out of position and filling in the defence will always come under pressure. It’s amazing how good the defensive line looks when it has a performing midfield ahead of them. Same with Strikers, they look poor when the midfield doesn’t perform.

      It’s all about the team within the team…the midfield.

    • Think every man and his dug would want Alves and Cardoso to play at back and McCrorie as the DM anchor.. Murtys got to play 442 to give us the chance to piss on their parade 🔴⚪️🔵

    • Dino, I totally agree with you, the midfields tracking back has been shocking this season, but thats where you rely on centre halves to clear their lines. I'm also talking about cross balls, McCrorie and Martin struggle with them. I like McRorie, but not as a centre half, he has cost us old firm games, as per scottish cup semi,,. We have been devoid of centre halves ever since we went down to the third division.
      We need two strong TALL, skillful, athletic centre halves who can header for fun to clear their lines and a threat up front.
      But I do agree with you Dino in respect of the midfield, they also have a job to do in defending!

  12. What about young Jordan Rossiter on sunday as he came through a full 90 minutes for the development squad and was shit hot according to Peter Lovencrants…..No Surrender….

  13. What about Barjones? That boy hasn't had a fair, crack of the whip. I thought he was confident and represented himself well, in the one game I say him play in. Give the boy his break.

Comments are closed.