What we can say is this was definitely a better Old Firm performance overall from Rangers under Michael Beale, even if the first half was absolutely ghastly. Fans were seething with the dreadful lack of grit, quality, fight and basic tactics we saw, and Ibrox Noise can say now we completely opposed the starting XI Beale chose, being aghast at seeing Fashion Sakala and Glen Kamara in Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield’s places.
And the first 45 bore our concerns out, with a weak and feeble showing, Celtic far dominant, but thankfully, not able to score more than one.
The Morelos moment in the first 5 minutes is not the first time the Colombian has done this, despite one enlightened user on Ibrox Noise explaining to us that the manager could not have predicted him doing that, or Tavernier being equally weak in culpability. Despite the fact both have plenty past history for such behaviour.
By half time we were a mess, all over the place, and only Lundstram and Kent had actually shown up in any measure. Despite fans raving about Fashion Sakala (who is becoming a bit of a cult hero) the Zambian was ineffective.
But we got a big break in that second half – a surging run from Fashion forged an opening for Ryan Kent, who put it away beautifully – it wasn’t a ‘deserved’ goal, but when Sakala was downed in the box and Tavernier put the resulting penalty away, the turnaround was impressive.
Celtic had collapsed and Rangers, while still not incredible, were in the ascendancy.
Then ‘IT’ happened. Michael Beale ruined it. Having gotten ourselves into a winning position, the manager removed 3 men (none of who were unjustified – Lunny injured, Morelos and Tillman underwhelming) but replaced them with bizarre changes – Jack, Sands and Wright.
This deeply weakened us – no Colak or Arfield in there, not Roofe either, instead a cold Jack, and two others who couldn’t add anything.
It wasn’t long before Celtic got their late goal and it’s hard to argue really with the ‘fair result’ of a draw.
But it’s a missed opportunity – Morelos missing so many great chances, Beale hijacking something with very bad replacements – this was a shoot in the foot kind of match, a match where we were down and out, hauled ourselves back, then threw it away needlessly.
It taught us Beale is far from perfect, and we’re clearly never going to be happy with everything he does. But ‘as long as we keep winning’ we’re good with that. Unfortunately, a lot of this one falls on him for bad decisions.