Rangers 1-2 Celtic- What’s next for Michael Beale’s men after another devastating cup-final loss?

Rangers 1-2 Celtic- What’s next for Michael Beale’s men after another devastating cup-final loss?
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Connor Goldson of Rangers looks dejected following the team's defeat in the Viaplay Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on February 26, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rangers were defeated 2-1 by Celtic in yesterday’s old-firm Viaplay cup final. A storyline which has been all-too-familiar since Rangers gained promotion back to the Scottish top flight in the 2016/17 season.

Since then, Rangers have managed to win 9 Old-Firm matches to Celtic’s 15. It gets even worse when you compare the trophies won during this time by each side. Rangers’ tally of 2 is nothing but an embarrassment when compared to Celtic’s 15, including a quadruple treble.

Apart from Rangers’ invincible 2020/21 title-winning season, and that magical European-run to Seville, being a Gers fan has been a very difficult thing for the last ten years. So, bringing our focus to the current team, what can be done to ensure that Michael Beale’s tenure is a successful one?

Nicolas Raskin is a must-start.

Since his arrival at Rangers, Nicolas Raskin has been a breath of fresh air. A hard-working and technically talented midfielder, who seems happy to put his body on the line to win first and second-balls. His comments before the final were much-loved by Gers fans, vowing to prove that Rangers are the “better” team.

This is why fans seemed totally confused when Raskin was not in the starting eleven yesterday. Hundreds of comments seemed to be saying the same thing when the team news was posted on Instagram.

Rangers were already two goals down before Raskin came on midway through the second half, which saw him revitalize Rangers’ midfield. The Gers would start to pile the pressure on Celtic, thanks to him and his counterparts Cantwell and Jack.

Rangers even managed to halve the deficit not long after the Belgian entered the field of play, but it was too little too late. There is belief throughout the Gers fan base that the outcome could have been different if the team selection was altered, especially with the addition of Raskin in midfield.

More in-game risks need to be taken.

How many times have we all been at Ibrox these past 18 months and Rangers go 1 or 2-nil up against the likes of St. Johnstone and Motherwell, but seem to ease their foot off the gas and allow the game to die out, instead of going for goal number 3,4 or 5 etc. The “never stop” mentality is one of the main reasons why Celtic have been almost unstoppable since Ange Postecoglou’s arrival. With goals, comes confidence. Not just for the goal-scorers, but for the whole squad. I have lost count how many times our arch-rivals have put multiple goals past the same opponents that we score 2 against and let the game simmer out. That is the reason why they have a 26-goal superior GD in the league this season, which is about as good as an extra point!

If Beale can get this squad to keep at it once we are winning and controlling football matches, this squad has players who are capable of scoring for fun. There’s no doubt that our squad has the talent, but it’s the desire to win at all costs, and to do so in style which separates them from us at the moment.

Dead wood must be axed.

There are too many passengers at Rangers, who seem to be stealing a wage at the moment. The main example is Welshman Rabbi Matondo, who was brought in by Giovanni Van Bronckhorst at the start of the season. He has barely kicked a ball this season. The winger is currently out with an injury, but hasn’t exactly been impactful when being on the pitch. Matondo is reportedly earning £28,000 a week, which makes him the club’s 4th highest earner. That is a huge dent in our wage bill, and it may already be time for the young man to venture his football elsewhere.

The debate of whether Scott Wright is good enough for Rangers has been back-and-forth within the fan base since his arrival at the club. He got off to a great start when first joining Rangers, coming off the bench scoring and assisting, which prompted many fans to believe he was good enough to fight for that right-wing spot. However, since then he has failed to be as impactful as we once thought he could be. Like his counterpart Matondo, he is definitely not short of pace, but it’s his decision making and composure in the final third which frustrates the fans. With just 2 assists and 0 goals in 886 minutes of football this season, the time may be right for him to depart Rangers.

Things will need to change for the club if success is to be assured either in the cup this season or next season, period.

We hope the right measures are taken.

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