As Rangers get Celtic again, Michael Beale gets another chance

As Rangers get Celtic again, Michael Beale gets another chance
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Michael Beale, Manager of Rangers, reacts during the Viaplay Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on February 26, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So Rangers get Celtic in the semis at Hampden, just like last year. To say this semi is a must-win is putting it mildly, because to fall at this hurdle, to fail to overcome Stavros’ rather mediocre Parkhead offering would easily be measured as a backwards step given former manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst overcame the same team at the same stage last time around.

In fact, it’s the best draw Rangers could have got.

If we wanted a truly accurate measurement of where Rangers are compared with a year ago, and if Michael Beale wants to be judged on results, on trophies, well, we already do given the Viaplay final’s outcome, but this is another opportunity for him to put right what he’s so badly gotten wrong in both Old Firm matches he’s faced.

The best way for Beale to redeem himself isn’t beating Hibs, it’s not even beating Hearts – it’s not even showing Aberdeen a thing or two – these results, while welcome, are not how our manager will ultimately be measured.

It’s results v Celtic, simple as. Beale has beaten every team Scotland has to offer, and did so under Steven Gerrard as well, but the one he’s fallen short at is the one he is judged on – Celtic.

And that’s twice now he’s let the fans down (along with the players doing likewise) against our biggest rivals.

So what better way to redeem himself than by winning? Of course, as we said about Gio, he couldn’t truly be judged on that one win v Celtic because in itself it was only a semi-final, it wasn’t directly for a trophy.

But it still was v Celtic, and he still won, finally laying a personal hoodoo to rest.

Beale now has to emulate it. Anything less than making the Scottish Cup final is a definitive backwards step for Rangers because our ‘lesser’ previous manager (he was far from it of course) was able to do so and then even win the trophy.

The pressure is definitely on Michael Beale to deliver, at the critical least, passage to the final, because with relatively the same players, Giovanni van Bronckhorst could.

It’s the most relevant and accurate draw Rangers could have got.

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