MURRAY'S SYMPATHY FOR HARTSON
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Wimbledon striker was poised to sign for the Scottish giants but the transfer broke down at the last minute following an intensive medical at Ibrox.
Murray has said, though, that the fact Hartson failed the medical was not the sole reason for the £6 million deal not going through.
"His levels of fitness, our doctor told us, was a risk," said Murray. "And that was coupled with being told every hour that day about transfer fees being abolished.
"If people are saying that the reason he didn't sign for Rangers was because he failed his medical, that is not the case.
"We did not feel that he had the correct fitness at the time to go straight into the Champions League. No disrespect, but to score against Huddersfield is slightly different to scoring against Galatasaray."
Murray, speaking to SkySports.comTV, has denied reports that suggested the Welsh international striker was brought to Scotland to deflect attention away from both the 6-2 battering they received from Old firm rivals Celtic and the surprise signing of Ronald de Boer.
"If you think that, on the day we're trying to sign Ronald de Boer, we need to complicate things by bringing in another player we had no intention of signing, that's absolute rubbish."
Hartson pulled out of the Welsh squad for the game against Belarus after the deal fell through and apparently broke down in tears. Murray has expressed his sympathy for Hartson and admitted that bringing him to Glasgow so soon after his injury might not have helped matters.
"Maybe we were a bit unrealistic in the first instance to ask the player to improve things at Rangers immediately as he has only played a couple of times in the last six months," he told the official Rangers website.
"The player was devastated and I have every sympathy for him as he so badly wanted to play for Rangers. That was shown by the fact that it took only ten minutes to agree personal terms."