Kenny Miller is in the press at the moment suggesting Michael Beale must win the League Cup/Viaplay Cup and qualify for the KO stages of the Europa League to keep his job.
He’s probably bang on and being actually quite generous with his projection there.
The big deal here really is the ‘free hit’ Michael Beale has at the League Cup – with Celtic’s early exit, Rangers are overwhelming favourites at 10/11 to win the thing, with Aberdeen a distant second at 9/1.
And with the budget Rangers have spent and the expectations surrounding the club, Beale is under critical pressure now that the League Cup is a must-win.
Naturally, we play the quarter-final tomorrow v Livi, and David Martindale, while currently a bit uncertain of his job at the Tony Macaroni, will be determined to put on a show to impress the new owners – he’s as much fighting for his position as Beale is.
And the lack of Celtic in this tournament means Michael Beale basically has no excuse to not win the whole thing.
Rangers fans will celebrate a league cup triumph, but it’s also the least we expect, and his winning that is less about praising him and the team for that and more about staving off the criticism that not winning would attract.
Livi will think they have a fair old chance to do something, and they will be trying to win this, like everyone else in a domestic cup does, so we shouldn’t expect the same match as we got in the league a few years ago.
But Miller is right. Beale is looking at his job if he doesn’t win, and that includes being papped out before the final.
So yes, the pressure is on – and if the debacle at Ibrox v Morton is anything to go by, we won’t get a lot better v a much better side.
It doesn’t get much easier.