There is no doubt Michael Beale is far from using the best of his resources, and the absolutely woeful and surprise start for Scott Wright rather summed up the directionless of Beale’s Rangers management and the cluelessness of the man at present.
In this article we look at the state of play with the squad and where we currently are.
Let’s also possibly torture ourselves with ‘what could and should have been’.
In goal, this is the one thing he got right. Jack Butland, by a distance, is the best stopper in the SPL following his opposite number at Parkhead’s woeful season thus far. This was a good signing, and Beale can take some credit here at least. The clamour for Robby McCrorie has vanished entirely.
Defence… what a mess.
Ok, he let Filip Helander go, and guess what – the Swede is now thriving fit in Denmark with Odense. Yeah they’re not great, but he’s put in three matches in a row for them as he tries to resurrect his career. Niko Katic’s exit wasn’t down to Beale (Gio got that one wrong) but the big Croat is excellent at Zurich as they sit in a healthy third, comfortably in range of Young Boys. It’s been a stunning turnaround there.
But what of what Beale has? Leon Balogun, Rangers’ outstanding Nigerian defender isn’t injured, he’s just been axed, both from the league and the Europa League. He’s being treated abominably, but that’s no surprise. John Souttar is now fringe – Rangers’ best defender, he forged a solid partnership with Balogun earlier in the season, but it’s no more.
Goldson and Davies are now firmly installed as the first pick. So we’re going to have to rely on Butland a lot now. Easy enough solution really – restore Balogun and Souttar. Won’t happen will it.
Fullbacks – this is simple too. Tavernier was one of the few to actually manage a fractionally decent match v Motherwell, but he’s just rank overall. We all know this. Dujon Sterling is a far more disciplined defender and he’d be in position a lot. Yes, we’re not going to get the Tav width from him, but hey, we didn’t from Patterson either and he’s pretty great isn’t he? On the other side, Barisic is alright, in fairness. Not great, but he’s got a top cross and his defending is better than Tavernier’s. But Ridvan is a younger player, and deserves a chance properly. He’s impressed when having a good chance.
So let’s go to midfield; obviously Cantwell, Raskin, Lawrence and Dowell aren’t currently available, albeit we’d not select Dowell if he was. He’s completely mediocre.
For now Beale’s hands are a little tied, but Ryan Jack and John Lundstram have individually shown some sparing form in recent weeks, even if the midfield as a whole hasn’t. Jose Cifuentes’ passing was absolutely outstanding v Motherwell (98%) and he’s strong, but his role is badly-defined – we can’t tell where Beale actually wants him and he looks a bit lost.
Unfortunately, those are the only three fit players we have in midfield. Beale’s work in the transfer market was abysmal here. Letting Scotty go was a really bad call. He didn’t sign a single quality player aside Cifuentes for central midfield and we’re really low on good options now.
So now we move to the wings.. no we don’t, because this manager dumped them.
Instead we move to ‘attack’.
We have no playmaker now – Cantwell isn’t fit, Hagi is away on loan, Lowry is away on loan, Scotty left permanently, and Lawrence is injured. We’re simply zero for creativity unless you want to squeeze Sam Lammers into that. One assist (as a cameo when we were being gubbed in Holland) suggests he’s not the man for that.
In terms of ‘runners’ (we can’t really call them wingers can we) we have Wright and Sima. Matondo is now injured as well, and we’re not overly inspired by the two we have left. It’s deeply weak.
Up front? Danilo’s out for months, Dessers has been a disaster and Roofe has already faded. Didn’t have good games in either of the last two despite an ‘assist’ v Betis. Lammers? We just don’t know what he actually is and honestly, neither does he.
This is where the names Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent and Antonio Colak have to surface. True, the first two did want to leave, so we’ll leave that there, but Colak did not. Then again, what difference could he make right now when Rangers aren’t creating much for the likes of him to lap up.
It’s not exactly inspiring and Michael Beale, given free reign to build a Rangers Revolution, has failed completely.
He built this squad, signed the players, and it just hasn’t worked. But then, given the players he brought in this summer, he’s his own worst enemy really.
It is a very, very bad Rangers squad.