GRAEME Murty has hit back at criticism of his tactics and substitutions at Ibrox on Sunday and denied that Rangers could have been more attack-minded when Celtic were reduced to 10 men.

Murty’s team surrendered the lead twice in the first-half of the Ladbrokes Premiership game and then allowed Brendan Rodgers’s side to score a winner after Jozo Simunovic had been sent off in the second-half.

But the 43-year-old, who has been given until the summer to prove he deserves a long-term deal, feels that poor finishing and bad defending cost the Govan club a second consecutive draw against their city rivals.

He predicted that both he and his players, who will try to bounce back from the painful 3-2 defeat by beating Kilmarnock for the first time in the 2017/18 campaign at home this afternoon, will be better for the experience.

“I watched the game back three or four times,” said Murty. “In the 10 minutes up until they scored their third goal they got out their half once.

“Alfredo (Morelos) has a one v one with the keeper and we’re dictating the tempo. But for some defending that wasn’t our finest moment, we’re in control of the game.

“I got Jason (Cummings) on, I took Sean (Goss) off, dropped Josh (Windass) back. We are looking at the areas to try and hurt them.

“What I didn’t want was too many cooks trying to spoil the broth. I wanted enough people to have the creativity, but enough spacing to make sure we actually maximised the pitch, rather than just play a flat line against their big guys.

“I thought the one instance where we actually we did play the way I wanted us to play we cut through them and Alfredo has his opportunity from five yards out. I believe the method that we showed in that instance is one we need to reinforce to the players.”

He added: “I have looked back on it, I have looked back on the changes that we made and I think that as well as the players getting better I will get better.

“That is the first time I have been in the situation where we have gone into a game and people have expected us to beat Celtic. Because we are 2-2 and they are down to 10 men people are expecting us to win. I have never been in that situation either.

“Speaking to the players, it is my feeling that we will be a better team for the experience, we will be a better group for the experience. Walking off the football pitch with that level of performance, having to perform in a pressure environment is something that will help them.

“It is a disappointment, it is a hard one to take, but the next time we are in a situation like that we will be a better team I have no doubt.”

Murty, whose side had been on a six game winning run before they played Celtic, argued the fact Rangers had been expected to win at Ibrox on Sunday shows how far they have progressed this season.

“The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced,” he said. “I think that possibly for the first time since I have been at the football club there was a sense of expectation against Celtic.

“It didn’t quite come off, but I have said to the players ‘you have to be positive about the strides we have made, about the distance that we have come and about the team we are evolving into’. That said, we need to kick on from here. It is one result. We need to make sure we back up that bad one with a really good result.

“I hope we’re showing we’re closer to them. I hope we’re showing the distance between us is shortening. But we still have to go and take that next step which is win the game.”