THE past is not such an easy thing to avoid if you happen to be the current Rangers manager.

No matter where Graeme Murty goes, reminders of previous glories, of days when not winning trophies was unusual, line the walls as if taunting him. It’s not difficult to view the photographs as intimidating rather than inspirational.

Seven years have passed – and rather a lot has happened since 2011 – since a Rangers captain, Davie Weir, lifted a major trophy, the lower league baubles don’t count, not really, and this Scottish Cup campaign is the present team’s last opportunity this season to win something.

Loading article content

Given Rangers' inconsistency, it would take a brave man to gamble the family jewels on Murty’s men getting past Ayr United, a quarter-final, semi-final, and then come May picking up world football’s oldest trophy.

Still, that is the task facing Murty, which is to bring back the good times, and he knows it.

“I walk down this corridor here at the training ground and I walk down the corridor at Ibrox and see trophy after trophy, manager after manager, great player after great player,” said Murty.

“We have to be worthy of that legacy. We have to be worthy of standing alongside those guys. We haven’t managed to get back there but that’s what we are working towards.

“That’s the stature of the football club that you play for. We fully acknowledge that. We should relish it and look forward to hopefully playing our part in moving us closer to where we want to be.

"We can sit here and say we’re moving closer and we’re getting better but the fans only see us on a Saturday. They’re not seeing the stuff behind the scenes. They don’t see the ongoing work we are doing to improve on a daily basis.

“So something tangible for them would be really special. As much as we are more secure, and improving our squad, the fans want to see us get results. They want to see us perform. I've told the players the rules of this club are really simple. Just win.”

Just win. If only it were that easy.

However, should Rangers claim their 34th Scottish Cup, and it’s far from an impossibility, then it would be difficult for the board to remove Murty of his responsibilities come June.

“I view every game I go into as a good opportunity to do a good job,” said Murty who is nothing if not modest. “It’s for other people outside my control to decide my eventual fate.

“But how I prepare the team, set it up and influence the game through substitutions, contribute towards what people think of me at the end of the season. If we have a negative result at any time that’s going to go against me and my future, if you will, at the football club.

“I can’t consider myself. I think it would be incredibly selfish to go into a cup game as the manager of this football club with a squad full of players and consider it to be about me. It’s not about me.

"I really bored you do death when I first came in as interim. But I’m not that kind of person. I’m not going into it thinking I need to get this because of me. I want to get through this round because we need to challenge in the latter stages of cups.”

Ayr United may be two divisions below Rangers but Ian McCall’s side are full-time, enjoying a good season and up until a recent wobble were scoring goals for fun. They will fancy themselves at their Somerset Park home.

This is an intriguing tie. Rangers should win but if their players are not prepared for a battle they are asking for trouble, which will be only too happy to knock on the door.

Murty said: “I know they are confident and, at home, they’ll be relishing the opportunity to trip us up as Fraserburgh were. We have to be on our mettle to ensure we don’t become the story of the round.

“Just turning up and winning is a non-starter for us. We’ve already said that to the players at our first prep meeting. So they know what to expect. They know Ayr have been flying and score goals.

“They have people in position who can cause problems. We need to make sure we deal with them at source with good information and good detail. If we do that we’ll give ourselves a good opportunity. But we need to make sure we turn up with a fantastic attitude.

“I keep coming back to it but attitude is at the root of a lot of stuff we do. That goes double for the weekend.”

Win and it’s the quarter-finals. And Murty is sure that his team, as they have shown, are a match for anyone, as long as they perform to a certain level.

When they drop beneath that, that’s when they suffer.

Murty said: “When you see what we’re good at and the attributes we have we’re capable of causing any side in the country problems in a one-off game.

“We have to be aware this gives us an opportunity to get some silverware but we also have to understand that as it’s a one-off game other clubs are going to view to in exactly the same manner.

“Any club we play against will think ‘if we get Rangers not at their peak we have an opportunity’.

“So we have to accept and understand that. But we’re not fearful of it. We just embrace it and move forward and make sure when we get there that we are at our peak in every opportunity we have to perform.”