Beale’s expectation management betrays Celtic concern
It was arresting to hear Michael Beale’s candour over Rangers’ myriad deficiencies in the wake of a bringing up a quartet of league successes across his Ibrox tenure. At one point he left hanging “four wins on the bounce is good for any team so you would think we are moving forward…” as if he had left unsaid “but we aren’t really”. It followed him stating starkly that he wasn’t prepared to “pull the wool over anyone’s eyes” as he bemoaned his team’s vulnerability to turnovers through misplacing passes “unapposed” when opening up, the absence of “rhythm” in a “disjointed” approach, and the need to be “much better out of possession”.
Quite the charge sheet only five days out from a derby when the degree of difficulty for his scrabbling-through team is ramped up to the max. On that front, Beale will well understand he largely provided a description of the sort of open, soft and intensity-lacking team that would be considered ripe for the punishing by Ange Postecoglou’s men when the manner they go after such opposition is considered. In an interview on BBC Sportsound, Beale’s apparent expectation management over the possibility that the Ibrox side could avoid falling 12 points behind the Scottish champions next week seemed even more acute as he elected not to sugarcoat the situation concerning the gap between the ancient adversaries. "I think at this moment in time they are playing at a higher level than us. I think everybody can see that,” he said. Beale is certainly not prepared to see the efforts of a team he has turned into a winning one over the past three weeks through rose-tinted spectacles.
A gremlin seemed to be at work in John Lundstram’s name being printed as Lundstrum in the Ibrox matchday team-sheet last month. The pesky critter would appear to be in permanent messing mode as Wednesday’s sheet continued a misnaming now threatening to become permanent.
Motherwell in the mire
It must be scary for those of a Fir Park disposition to consider the freefall their team has been in these past three months. On October 4, they battered Ross County 5-0 in the Highlands. A result that ended a four-game league winless run, it has given way to a nine-match sequence in which they have claimed a paltry five points from a possible 27. Or, if you want to put it another way, a return across this span of the campaign that is poorer than every other top flight club. Now third bottom and only three points above bottom-placed County, two wins in 14 league outings is the sort of form that drags teams kicking and screaming into relegation scraps.