Tuesday’s maiden Rangers training session with Michael Beale as official manager was extremely enlightening on a number of levels, and Ibrox Noise takes you through four things we observed with the new man in the hotseat.
1: Enthusiasm. This has to be the obvious and key aspect – sure, it’s the first day back at school syndrome and everyone wants to impress the new Rangers manager, but if we’re honest, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first training sessions never looked this invigorated. There was a real presence of energy on display, and from what ended up being lacklustre sessions under Gio, the change in tempo is obvious. Beale’s got these wasters looking hungry again.
2: Getting his hands dirty. Beale, as before, is right in among the muck, getting his hands dirty and not afraid to be at the centre. His coaching is very different to any senior manager Rangers have had, with an emphasis on communication and direct relations to the players. He’s not standing at the side, he’s right among sessions, yelling, barking, moaning, making sure every Rangers player is doing what he wants. He was like this last time, but now he has the executive decision, so it makes it 10x more responsible.
3: Smiles and focus. Now and then we’d see a few grins here and there under previous Ibrox managers, let’s not revise history, but the session on Tuesday showed good spirits and solid focus – a good blend of work satisfaction and downright grit. It looked like the kind of mood you should expect to see at Auchenhowie, but it’s been all too rare in recent times.
4: Playing through the middle and shooting from distance – Rangers’ midfield wasn’t dropping the ball out wide all the time, it was going central, just like 55 Rangers when Beale’s Joe Aribo system was at its best. Ryan Kent looked like he’s been refreshed, and in general the picture looks a whole different landscape.
We’re not going to draw any conclusions, all the kids are back at Rangers school and they want to impress the teacher as much as the teacher wants to look good too – early impressions would not be worth anything of gravity yet.
But the immediate difference in seeing energy and cohesion even in training at Auchenhowie does make a welcome change and while we’re not hailing Beale as the all-seeing answer, he’s not made the worst start.
We’ll see how things evolve in the coming weeks and months at Ibrox.