Michael Beale Must Hit The Ground Running Next Season As Time Will Not Be On His Side
Celtic defeated Rangers 1-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final and are on the verge of winning a world record 8th domestic treble. It was the 5th Old Firm game of the season and Celtic’s 4th victory over the Light Blues as they ensured their arch-rivals would end the season trophyless. It was a game that perfectly summed up how pitiful the Ibrox club’s season has been. Car crash amateur defending, missing open goals, and big players failing to turn up when it matters.
The Scottish Cup semi-final was huge for this group of Rangers players as they had the opportunity to salvage some pride after a disastrous season and attempt to end the season on a high. It is the end of the road for many in this squad, as a massive overhaul is expected in the summer. After the game, Michael Beale said, “It’ll be the biggest rebuild the club will have seen in a number of years.” Beale also said Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos have not been offered new contracts as the pair are set to leave the club for free in the summer.
Sunday’s defeat was the nail in the coffin for many of these players’ careers at Ibrox. Kent was non-existent, had his worst performance in a Rangers shirt, and was brought off at half-time but should’ve been subbed earlier – he was that pitiful. The 26-year-old seems checked out and quite frankly, let Beale down in the biggest managerial game of his career.
Kent should be ashamed of his performance – it was a disgrace. Morelos is a shadow of the former player he was two seasons ago and is another who seems uninterested and has one foot out the door. The Colombian has been poor all season – putting in sluggish performances with little effort, and don’t get me started on the issues surrounding his fitness.
Rangers were better off playing with nine men in the semi-final than having Kent and Morelos on the pitch. I’ve defended Kent and Morelos to the hilt, and both have been tremendous players for the club. I’ll always be grateful for the fantastic memories they’ve given me, but now it’s time for them to leave.
A player who had divided the Rangers faithful has been winger Fashion Sakala. The Zambian gives it his all on the pitch and is never shy about wanting the ball, but his two sitters against Celtic in the League Cup final and Scottish Cup semi-final should signal the end of his Rangers career. Sakala’s end product is nowhere near good enough.
Rangers have nothing in the final third. That’s why Celtic sat back in the second half and saw the game out, as they knew Beale’s men lacked any real attacking threat. Beale must be ruthless this summer and get the recruitment and outgoings at the club spot on.
Let’s not beat around the bush here – Beale has done fine so far, and this isn’t his group of players, but he’s lost two massive games against Celtic and is the reason Celtic are about to win their 5th treble in seven years. Ange Postecoglou took charge of Celtic in 2021, the season after the Hoops failed to win 10 in a row, and the club was in complete disarray.
Many pundits predicted the Australian to be sacked by Christmas, but he proved his doubters wrong by securing the Premiership title and League Cup in his first season. There will be major pressure on Beale to emulate what Postecoglou achieved, and he must hit the ground running next season because time won’t be on the Englishman’s side.
When Rangers appointed Steven Gerrard in 2018, he was afforded time, and there was clear progress in his first season, securing European football for the first time in eight years and finishing second in the league. The Ibrox club are in a situation where they can’t afford to give managers time, especially after the success of the last two seasons winning the league, reaching a Europa League final, and winning the Scottish Cup.
After reaching those heights, the club has gone backwards, and the patience is wearing thin among the Rangers support. Rangers have won 117 trophies, and if Celtic win the treble, that will mean the Parkhead club will be one trophy away from equaling that historic record. If that were to happen, that would be an embarrassment for Rangers, and that’s why it’s pivotal Beale gets it right this summer.
By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Bryn Lennon – Getty Images