David Martindale: Celtic were best team in country before Michael Beale - now Rangers are matching them
Beale, former assistant coach to Steven Gerrard at the Ibrox club, has won 12 and drawn one of his 13 games as Gers boss since taking over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November. Rangers sit nine points behind cinch Premiership leaders Celtic due to the points deficit Beale inherited.
They will play Ange Postecoglou’s side – whom they drew 2-2 against at Ibrox on January 2 – in the Viaplay Cup final at Hampden Park on February 26, with a home Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against Raith Rovers looming.
Livingston lost 2-1 at home to Rangers at the start of the season and drew 1-1 at Ibrox in October but Martindale believes the Govan outfit are a different proposition under Beale.
He said: “How do you beat Rangers? You are going to need a little bit of luck on the day. Am I correct in saying Michael’s record is the exact same as Ange’s record since Michael took over? For me, Celtic were the best team in the country before Michael came in to Rangers.
“He has come in, he has done a fantastic job and him and Ange are now head-to-head, obviously Celtic have got that head start with the points they picked up previously. But I think it shows the job that Michael has done.
“If you had said to anybody at Rangers, when they made the appointment, that you are going to be in the cups, going to be unbeaten including a game against Celtic, I think they would have snapped your hands off for that.
“It could have got a little better in terms of the result against Celtic but it couldn’t have been much better. He has done an incredible job since he came in and it is my job to focus on Livingston and how we can try to take points off Rangers.
“But it is going to be a lot more difficult than the two previous encounters this season in terms of the style of play. Michael has brought his own identity, one that I am little bit familiar with in terms of his DNA was on Rangers from his time with Steven previously.
“It is one thing being well-versed on it, it is how you go about stopping it but I will have my own game plan going into Saturday’s game.”
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