What did last night’s riproaring win over Killie mean for Rangers and Michael Beale? In reality, nothing we didn’t already know.
We know life under this manager will be a rollercoaster, favouring, as he does, attacking relentless football over defending.
Michael Beale has already admitted his Rangers team will leave gaps at the back due to the flying wingbacks in Borna Barisic and James Tavernier, and he doesn’t help himself with two ‘composed’ (read – ‘non-physical’) defenders in the middle who don’t flatten opponents, in Connor Goldson and Ben Davies.
So, we’re always going to concede goals under Michael Beale – shutouts are a thing of the past, and while we’ll still manage them now and then, ‘keep the zero’ is consigned to the dustbin.
Beale’s attitude is just score at least one more than the opponent does, and it’s a gung-ho and risky approach which is working so far. Just that late Celtic goal at Ibrox blots the copybook otherwise, and aside that it’s a 100% return.
And at Rugby Park, more atrocious defending aided and abetted by the hapless and hopeless Jon McLaughlin (Rangers’ goalkeeping setup is a bit of a mess right now) with two aimless flaps in a row saw Rangers lose a very ugly early goal, before making yet another rampaging comeback and securing the three points.
This manager is very, very different to anything we’ve seen at Ibrox at this level before – think of a supercharged Championship Mark Warburton Rangers – same formation, style, and system, but with considerably better players and you’ve pretty much got it.
Difference is the opponent punishes a lot more than Scotland’s second tier could so we’ll ship many goals.
Do Rangers miss Calvin Bassey? Let’s be honest here, Ben Davies might be tidy on the ball, but he’s not a tussler, not a grafter, and he won’t put himself in the pain for the club. He’s absolutely nowhere near Calvin Bassey or even an in-form Niko Katic. But his seems to be the style Beale wants, so we must run with it.
And we must accept, for now, the first 45 minutes under this boss will be a riot, and much gnashing of teeth will ensue.
But at the end of the 90 minutes, it’s three points, and that’s the bit that counts. On that level, Beale is literally outstanding.