Rangers players have now been working with new manager Michael Beale for several days, and already the sessions at Auchenhowie are looking drastically different from anything we saw under Giovanni van Bronckhorst or even Gio’s predecessor Steven Gerrard.
Here’s a pile of things we’re picking up from what we’re seeing as the lads go through their paces under the new management team:
1: Ryan Kent looks happy. It’s the first time we’ve seen persistent grinning and smiling from the under-fire winger pretty much this whole year, where he’s mostly cut a scowling and dispirited figure, much to the derision of fans, who it must be said are being very harsh on him. He knows Beale better than the rest of the squad, and there may well be something to the connection which sees a whole reboot for Kent at Rangers.
2: Varying training. Andy Halliday and others have spoken highly of Beale’s training sessions, and we must admit they’re impressive. There’s a good combination of technical, tactical, and fun, and Beale being in among the thick of it is a refreshing change to both Gerrard and Gio’s general distance from proceedings. The communication has also hugely improved which in itself makes a tonne of difference.
3: Alex Lowry. He’s been with the first team for a while in training, nothing new there, but the prominence of his involvement suggests he’s one Michael Beale may have plans for. He also looks a lot happier than he did under Gio.
4: Team spirit. It’s back – there is a lot of banter, and even Rabbi Matondo is showing a little bit of cheeky dissent, and with Beale’s chilled-out nature it’s a good combination. These guys look like they’re enjoying each other’s company again.
5: We’re still desperately short at the back. Despite a couple of injury returns, Rangers are still down to Leon King and James Sands at the rear – Ben Davies, Filip Helander and Connor Goldson remain unavailable for now and the window is a month away. A new manager and better training hasn’t changed that.
6: A reprieve for Alfredo Morelos? He looks reinvigorated under Beale, a manager who obviously knows him well, but Antonio Colak will be determined not to lose his spot – that could be an interesting battle, albeit we all know about Morelos’ contract situation.
There are a few bits and pieces otherwise, and training is purely artificial and can’t be measured, but it is training from which the manager picks the team so on that front, it looks an improvement at least.