In the context of yesterday’s article, I said that it’s not hard to feel sorry for Graeme Murty.
Actually, it is sometimes.
Today, in a move about as stupid as it was wholly predictable, he’s demanding that his players “silence their critics” and win at the weekend.
At the weekend his team is going up against Scotland’s on-form side. The discussion I really want to have over who should be manager of the year is some ways away yet, but Steve Clark will be on the final shortlist and there’s just no argument against it.
First up, what critics?
I have yet to read serious criticism of Murty or his team in the aftermath of this weekend, or at least not in the mainstream press. Almost all the reports repeated this nonsense about how “the gap has shrunk” and that if only they had taken their chances they’d have got something … criticism of the kind he implies simply wasn’t there.
“I have said to the players that every single man and his dog, who has an opinion, who is an expert, will write their column and will say all these things we didn’t do and that I didn’t do,” he told his club’s in-house media team.
Except that it’s been two days and nobody has done it yet.
Then, hilariously, he came up with this beauty.
“We have to make sure that as a group we don’t allow the noise outside to come inside.”
Who else thinks he sounds like Brendan Rodgers there, talking just last week?
And where was said noise coming from?
Ibrox. And specifically their dressing room after drawing us in the cup.
I mean I know the Scottish media has the collective memory span of fruit flies but did surely there must have been some laughter in the press rooms upon hearing that?
Murty’s problem – the problem his club has – comes down to his inability to keep quiet the big mouths inside his own walls.
Whether in the dressing room or the board room the entire place is filled to the rafters with mouthy sods who speak as if other clubs are simply there to be rolled over, and who act as if they take offence to any who don’t.
Over the last few weeks there was an entire procession of them mouthing off to the press about how they would do this and how they would do that and how they were ready for Celtic … if they had got criticism of the sort he’s talking about it then it would have been because for all their big talk they didn’t deliver.
Still the big talk continues.
This lot are so consistent.
They set themselves up for shaming.
They set themselves up to be made to look fools.
And you know what? I think they get a free ride from the press.
All that talk of how the pressure was on us, the team who had a commanding lead in the league before this weekend, millions in the bank, a squad of internationals and a manager on a full time contract … yet we were the ones one result from crisis. Please.
Even the press coverage of Murty himself has been almost universally positive.
Not one newspaper editorial has suggested he isn’t the man for the job full time; that talk is all coming from people on his own board and in his own support. The media, as a whole, thinks he’s done enough to get the job for at least another year.
The critics? Where are they? Who are they? Who’s he talking about?
The ones inside his club?
Silencing them will be a much harder job than shutting up any dissenting voices in the media, who will gush about the train being back on the tracks the next time they as much win a game. And Murty and his players will go right along for the ride.
The best kind of silence is the self-imposed sort.
He and his players and those on board who can’t shut up … they should try it for once.
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