So we’re back. Eagle-eyed Ibrox Noise regulars will have noticed the lack of output over the past 36 hours, and we are back online offering a thought or two especially over Thursday’s result.
Let’s not let the win completely void that first 45 minutes – despite some individuals having decent nights in their own right, it was a dreadfully incoherent and poor performance, akin to the rubbish we’ve been seeing most of the season.
But while Real were a significant amount superior to the hosts for the half in question, that counted for nothing because despite Isco, Ezzalzoul and Iglesias especially having fine nights, none of them could put the ball in Jack Butland’s net, and in truth, never really came all that close to doing so.
Instead, it was Rangers with Michael Beale’s finest European performance (second 45) which saw a well-earned victory at Ibrox and the first tentative sign that the manager might know something of what he is doing.
However, the most paradoxical part of this impressive display? Just Jose Cifuentes and Abdallah Sima, of Beale’s summer signings, played from the start here (aside Butland of course), and that’s a pretty damning angle when Beale was given his own blank canvas and solid cash to build a new Rangers.
In short, Michael Beale, mostly, is basically still using Gerrard and Gio’s Rangers.
And that one knows how to win in Europe at this level.
Of all of Beale’s summer signings, while Sam Lammers did have a positivish impact later in the second half, it has to be said only Butland has truly shone of the new boys.
The rest have been duds so far, and we include Abdallah “Fashion” Sima in that.
And it was so glaring that the starting XI was basically Gerrard and Gio’s Rangers, not Michael Beale’s.
What does this mean? It means the summer window hasn’t worked out yet, but the core squad Michael Beale has knows how to win in the Europa League.
Hands up, most of us on Ibrox Noise were convinced Real would smash us – that absolutely didn’t happen. Because the players’ nous at this level shone well.
Beale helped a lot – half time clearly changed things and the side delivered better in the second half, but this is a group of players who got to this final 18 months ago.
They know how to win here.
We’re not making any Beale conclusions from this one, not yet, but if he catches fire in the league all of a sudden then it’s possible he’s cottoned on at last.
But we’re not counting those chickens.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and we know how bad Beale’s summer was…