Michael Beale has just found his Rangers ‘core’

Michael Beale has just found his Rangers ‘core’
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 26: Michael Beale Rangers manager during the pre-season friendly match between Rangers and Olympiaco at Ibrox Stadium on July 26, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Michael Beale has just found Rangers’ spine at long last, and he’d be a fool to break it now. No, that’s not the view of a Rangers legend that we’re quoting for you, it’s a pretty blatant fact, and while Livingston aren’t Liverpool (that said they’re no great shakes themselves these days either admittedly) nevertheless Beale has stumbled upon Rangers’ strongest core and he’d just be so misguided to fix something that clearly isn’t broke.

Jack Butland in goal, central defence of John Souttar and Leon Balogun, midfield of Jose Cifuentes and Todd Cantwell.

Those core five players, and we’ll get to Nico Raskin in a moment, are the pinnacle spine right through the middle, filled with power, leadership, pace, strength and consistency.

All five of those, perhaps with the exception of the Ecuadorian, are absolutely leaders – they’re big, vocal, aggressive, and they have accountability and respect throughout all five. Jose doesn’t lead, at least not yet, but what he lacks in ‘authority’ he makes up for in power and calm.

The point is that quintet of players is clearly Michael Beale’s core, and he’s finally clicked a baseline. Now, there’s a few caveats to this, so Ibrox Noise will take you through these to explore the ‘issues’.

Firstly, Connor Goldson looms like a spectre in the background. Clearly he’s not up to the level of either Souttar or Balogun, he’s not as strong as either, not as dominant, and his idea of ‘leadership’ is to blame everyone else. He’s also the club’s top earner aside Danilo. The four-year deal he got irks us badly to this day. But he’s there, and you’d hope for the bread-and-butter SPL stuff, he’s adequate as cover.

Secondly, Nico Raskin. He’s a top, top player, but he’s just been a little subdued this season so far – whether it was the extra he did in the summer with his country or he’s just been a little bit off we don’t know, but in theory he’s absolutely with the other five as one of the 6 core spine of the team. Just right now he’s a little below his complete best. We’re sure he’ll regain full form soon.

Thirdly James Tavernier. He’s the epitome of ‘either die as the hero or live long enough to become the villain’ – while no fans loathe him, he’s lost all his popularity, and the more the club rubs James Tavernier into the faces of fans (he remains basically the constant face of the club, on all the media material) the more the supporters get sick of him, because he’s not backing such exposure up with performances. He’s absolutely no leader, and would never be included in an Ibrox Noise best XI never mind as the captain (despite having the armband) or as a core player.

Lastly, the lack of any core up front. We hope that Sima, Lammers, Dessers and Danilo start to fire soon, but as things stand, none of them have impressed enough to show us they’re integral or core members. It took Jose 15 minutes of his debut to prove he was, but 8+ appearances as Rangers players for the above four and none of them have shown the same guile.

But it is clear through the centre of the team, the core is there – 5 players, 6 including Raskin, plus leaders on the bench like Ryan Jack and John Lundstram also help.

But Beale really would be silly to rip that winning formula up.

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  1. I agree with this article, Souttar & Balogun are definitely a good strong defensive partnership. It’s no secret that Raskin is my fave player and he’s not quite firing on all cylinders yet however its a more cohesive midfield with Cifuentes giving that little but more stability and I’m sure we will see Cantwell, Raskin & Cifu bossing it soon enough. As for the forward well provided MB plays the right formation they will have ample opportunities to start finding the back of the net. 💙💙

  2. A really good summary and observation of where we are right now. This is a critical factor with this core of 6 the foundation for 56 no doubt. I hope Beals sticks to it . If we could I’d sell Goldson and Tav to free more wages for a CH RB and a pacy winger .

    • Agreed Bill, i’d also be willing to let them both go for cheap and replace them both. And if we can get rid of Mcgauchlin and Wright and use that money on someone else too.

  3. Like Janice and Bill, I agree. I would be happy to sell Goldson and Davies and replace with a quality LCB with potential, like Panzo or even Cooper despite age. We could buy and pay wages for both with Goldson’s wage and the few groats we could get for him, leaving a profit on Davies.
    But we all know if won’t happen. As for Tav, I share your high regard (!) for his captaincy and while I respect his goal/assist output, want to see what Sterling can do. But again, not going to happen. RTID

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