Michael Beale reveals why Rangers’ first half was so bad at Ibrox

Michael Beale reveals why Rangers’ first half was so bad at Ibrox
Beale is under pressure to deliver signings... (Credit Rangers FC)

If ever a Rangers match was a game of two halves, it was last night’s win over initially-enterprising Hibernian. After a hapless first 45 in which a more clinical visitor could have put five past McGregor, the second half saw a complete personality swap and far superior performance which ended up a deserved home win at Ibrox.

So, how did this happen? Why was the first half so poor and the second such an improvement?

Leon King and Antonio Colak is the simple answer. Michael Beale revealed after the match that the two and a half weeks of planning and training he’d done with pretty much his preferred XI was thrown out the window over 36 hours as first Colak pulled out with a calf strain on Wednesday then on the morning of the match, King was revealed ill.

This meant Michael Beale had 36 hours to rip up everything he’d planned around Colak then 8 hours to rewrite the Leon King script.

This is why the first half was an absolute mess from Rangers. Beale had to throw a cobbled-together plan based on 8 hours and a different striker, and with not a single spare defender to put in from the start, he had to rewrite his whole gameplan with John Lundstram (who’s far from a defender) at the back and now Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara in the middle.

Add to this Morelos up front instead of Colak and the team system had had to completely change at effectively the last minute.

The first 45 was Beale watching the mess unfold, knowing full well that it probably would, while analysing everything that didn’t work and fixing it at half time. Obviously he wasn’t happy seeing how frail we were at the rear, his shaking head telling the story, but he was figuring it out and preparing to change it at half time.

The second? Rangers dominated the ball in Hibs’ half, keeping it away from our vulnerable defence as much as possible, we overloaded the box with our men, and we used the wide men as much as possible, while Kamara and Jack pressed centrally.

It was a 15-minutes rewrite based on being able to figure out Hibs’ system and counter it.

In short, it was the kind of half time change we’ve not seen at Ibrox for a very long time, and it was completely tactical.

Beale adapted, and that’s something we didn’t see enough of under Gio – he did do it now and then, he changed things via player swaps at half time, but this was without a single sub.

And in the end, the side deservedly won.

It’ll be a lot better once Goldson and Davies are fit and ready to go.

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