RANGERS manager Graeme Murty isn’t surprised to see Walter Smith being linked with a return to the Scotland dugout, he is only shocked that it took the Scottish Football Association so long to talk to him.

Former Rangers boss Smith enjoyed two trophy-laden spells in charge of the Ibrox club, and previously managed his country for a three-year spell that ended when he returned to Rangers in 2007.

Despite not working in football since stepping down from the club in 2011, the 69-year-old is understood to have been earmarked for a sensational return as manager of the national side, and Murty thinks it would be a logical move.

“I’m not surprised,” said Murty.

“I think he has been and is an outstanding candidate for any job that comes up.

“If anything, I am a little surprised it’s taken them this long, but I am not surprised that his name has been thrown in the hat, and if he does take the job he will have everyone’s backing from this football club because he is an absolute legend for Scotland and Rangers.”

Murty, who played under Smith for Scotland, revealed in December that he has met with his former boss, but he says that the Rangers icon hasn’t given anything away over whether he has a desire to work in football once again.

“It never comes up because he’s busy talking about his kids or the issues of the day,” he said.

“If he does return, he will have thought long and hard about it, and I think it will be a good move. He will get the full backing of everyone that knows him. He’s a top, top man and I cannot speak highly enough of him.

“In my experience of playing for him and of talking to him, his knowledge of the game is vast, very deep and I am very, very hopeful he would be a success if he took it.”

Meanwhile, Murty believes that his Rangers side can bounce back from the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Hibernian at the weekend as they make the short trip to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle tonight.

“We have a positive environment around the place, and we’re trying to implement a positive culture so that we move away from this fragility of one game being the best thing since sliced bread, and one game being the worst thing that’s ever happened to us,” he said.

“It hurts, don’t get me wrong. I hate to lose anything. Ask anyone who knows me, I’m the world’s sorest loser, but let’s get a bit of reality about it.

“We lost a game, but we lost it through a bad decision on our part, and I don’t think I could actually ask for much more from the players who were on the pitch.

“As conscious as I am about the need to win every single game, there were lots of positives for us to take.”

Even Neil Lennon said so, Murty revealed.

The Hibernian manager and former Celtic captain was impressed by Rangers in the game at Ibrox, and admitted to Murty that he feared his team were certain to lose until they were gifted a penalty by James Tavernier’s rash challenge on Scott Allan.

While that is cold comfort to the Rangers manager, he agrees with Lennon’s assessment of his side, and urged them to cut out the individual errors that are costing them dearly and undermining their overall efforts as a team.

“Talking to Neil Lennon and his staff after the game he was really impressed with us, which I suppose is really easy when you’ve won the game,” Murty said.

“He thought they were out on their feet and he was grateful to get the penalty because he thought the atmosphere was amazing and our fans were great.

“Neil was telling me that after the game, that he thought we would have gone on and won it. Garry Parker was the same, they were really worried, and they thought we were very good in the second half. Great, thanks. I said the same to them at Easter Road, but I still walked out with the points and now they have walked out with the points.

“I’m proud of the way the players played, the same way Neil was at Easter Road. I thought we took it to them.

“They are a good team, let’s make no bones about it, they caused us lots of problems, but the adjustments we made and the mentality we showed in the second half, if we play like that for the rest of the season then we’ll win more game than we lose.

Immediately after the game, Murty was angry about the penalty award that went against his men and ultimately proved critical to the outcome of the game, but after reflecting on the incident, the Gers boss has changed his outlook.

“I can see why the penalty was given,” he said. “If it had happened to our player I’d want it to be given for me, but it doesn’t change my take on what we did to allow it to happen and allow the player to go over.

“I’m more concerned with the fact we made elementary errors and allowed them to get there and give the referee a decision to make.

“James was apologetic in the changing room afterwards. He’s been great for us and he made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, we’re all human.

“Everyone can sit and be an expert after it, but you gain nothing from that other than make yourself feel slightly better.

“We’ve got to learn from these things and make sure we eradicate them from our next performance and hopefully we will do.”

Kenny Miller is set to return to the Rangers squad after recovering from his hamstring injury.