Graeme Murty relieved of duties as Rangers manager
Graeme Murty has been sacked as Rangers interim manager with just three games of the season remaining - but could be return to his former role in the Rangers Academy.
Murty took the reins as caretaker manager after Pedro Caixinha was sacked in October, and was appointed interim manager until the end of the season in December.
A club statement confirmed that Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson will take charge of the team for the last three matches of the season.
The statement continued: “Rangers are grateful to Graeme, who did not hesitate when asked last October to become interim manager after the departure of Pedro Caixinha and then, at the turn of the year, when he was offered the role as manager until the end of the season.
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“Graeme has had to contend with difficult and challenging circumstances but conducted himself in a thoroughly professional manner. He will take some time to consider his options, which include returning to his role at the Rangers Academy.
“Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson have already started preparing the team for the match against Kilmarnock on Saturday and they will be in place for the two remaining fixtures, against Aberdeen and Hibernian.
“The club hopes to be in a position to comment further on the managerial situation in the near future.”
It was expected that a new permanent manager would be appointed in the summer, with Liverpool Under-18 coach Steven Gerrard currently the favourite to land the Ibrox role.
But it’s understood that Murty has stepped down from the role just two days after Celtic defeated Rangers 5-0 at Celtic Park to win a seventh successive league title.
Rangers refused to allow anyone from the club - players or coaching staff - speak to the media in the aftermath of the heavy defeat, contravening SPFL regulations.
There was no communication from the club on social media until late on Monday afternoon, ahead of the club’s Glasgow Cup final match against Celtic.
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The defeat at Celtic Park came just two weeks after the Ibrox side had lost 4-0 to Brendan Rodgers’ team in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
And this morning it was confirmed that Murty won’t be in the dugout for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership match against Kilmnarnock at Ibrox, after telling the players he was leaving his post.
The former Scotland international had been the Development team coach at Ibrox, and had initially taken charge of first team affairs following the departure of Mark Warburton.
A statement from Rangers chairman Dave King ahead of the Scottish Cup clash hinted that Murty would not be kept on after the summer, and following the Hampden encounter, the first links with Gerrard emerged.
Murty was forced to admit in a pre-match interview at Celtic Park that the focus on Gerrard in the days preceding the match had been “difficult” for him.
Rangers sit third in the Scottish Premiership, three points behind second-placed Aberdeen and ahead of Hibs on goal difference. But the Gers face testing visits to Pittodrie and Easter Road in the three-way battle for the runners-up spot in the table.