No need to refresh Michael Beale on the very thin margins that make or break in Glasgow, he has already done the math.
The only number that really matters to Rangers is not well with their new manager. There are nine points between club Ibrox and their cross-town rivals, and he will know it may take something spectacular to prevent Celtic retaining the Premiership title from here.
Beale will have understood this assignment from the moment he returned to Rangers from QPR exactly a month ago, winning all three games since the league resumed. It’s something he thinks his team hasn’t done enough; putting together a sustained winning streak to really ramp up the pressure on defending champions Ange Postecoglou.
Celtic, on the other hand, have won 17 of their 18 outings so far, and Beale has told his players that unless they can start posting such impressive numbers then you’re on the hook for nothing. in this part of football. world.
“The difference is nine points, but we only faced each other once and they won that match, deservedly so,” he said. “So the difference should be three points, right? It should. We’re six points behind the other teams in the league, the other 10 we’re up against. That’s what’s disappointing.
“If it was just about Old Firms it would be more interesting, but you have to beat everyone. That’s the key message. If the problem had been that we only dropped points in that game, we would have a chance, on Jan 2, to tie. As things stand, that won’t be enough. We have to win every other game. Unless we can keep winning in big game prizes, it’s very hard to get where we want to go Scotlandfull stop.
“It’s really us or Celtic every season when it starts so you have to beat everyone and do well at the Old Firms so for me the two games are only worth three points. And the three points against Motherwell are the three most important points.
Beale revealed last week that he had inherited a locker room that had become a little too quiet for his liking, although he understands why. Under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Rangers had fallen from the immense heights of a Europa League final and long-awaited Scottish Cup victory, only to be beaten 4-0 at Celtic Park and leave the group of the Champions League. arrange with the worst record of any team in history.
For these reasons, Beale was not expecting a party when he walked through the doors of Ibrox. But he is aware that work needs to be done to restore fragile trust, and he is relying on his key supporters to help turn the tide.
“When you come back to a place where a manager lost his job and that manager had five or six employees, brought in players and they worked together,” the manager said. “They had an incredible experience going to a European final beating teams like Dortmund and Leipzig. They were one kick away from…wow, for a Scottish team, being immortal.
“What an incredible achievement that would have been. They won the Scottish Cup together and led the league this time last year by six points I believe. So a lot happened with the last management team and I don’t think you come and everyone throws a party that you’re back. It doesn’t work that way. The band’s confidence is hit when a manager leaves. And I think you can see that in some of our performance.
“There are times in games where I think we’re doing really good things and there are other times where we seem a bit anxious or uncertain. So every day we can bring it together a bit more. J tries to encourage older, more experienced players to come out with their voices. I wouldn’t expect that to come from players new to the building, to be fair.
That process can continue when Motherwell visits Ibrox tonight, themselves fresh from a confidence-sapping meltdown against Kilmarnock at 10 last week. Beale, however, expects that to mean Rangers will face a team desperate to right some wrongs.
“For me it would be nice (to get a complete win) but the main thing is to keep winning and tonight is a big opportunity for us,” Beale said. “But Motherwell is going to make it difficult for us. They had a tough second half against Kilmarnock the other day and I’m sure they’ll come here aiming to make up for losing the two points they thought they had.”