'It’s clear where we need to improve as a team': Michael Beale dissects Rangers' Morton win and makes PSV demand
Rangers prepared for the visit of the Dutch outfit with a 2-1 win over Morton to secure their spot in Sunday’s Viaplay Cup quarter-final draw. However, they fell behind to their Championship opponents and were wasteful in front of goal despite salvaging the tie. Beale knows that a strong first-leg performance at home is required against PSV before they head over to Eindhoven a week on Wednesday and has once again demanded that his forward players take their chances.
"It’s got to be a typical Rangers Ibrox European night where the fans have to be up and the players have to take the game to PSV,” said Beale. “It’s a two-legged game. Regardless of the result, it will go to the second leg. It’s a game we’re looking forward to, one where the two teams will throw a lot of punches and we have to make sure ours stick. If we take them we’ll be in a good place but if were as wasteful as we’ve been we’ll be having the same conversation. It’s clear where we need to improve as a team.”
Following the midweek exertions against Servette, Beale made eight changes to his starting XI for the visit of Morton, with James Tavernier, John Souttar, Borna Barisic, Ryan Jack, Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin all given the afternoon off. His reconfigured team struggled at times and fell behind to a Grant Gillespie penalty before Cyriel Dessers scored one of his own and then set up Danilo for the winner.
"We didn’t get back till late Wednesday afternoon [from Geneva] so the players who played midweek didn’t train,” continued Beale. “We took the chance to split the group – the ones playing today and the ones working towards Tuesday. A bit’s on me because I made eight changes and changed the shape. It wont be a team that plays regularly for Rangers. It will settle and become stronger and there’s no better opportunity than to show what we want our team to be.”
Beale handed a debut to 20-year-old Johnly Yfeko at left-back – “I thought well done to Johnly Yfeko on his first start, I thought that side functioned very well” – while Rabbi Matondo caused Morton issues with his pace and direct running. But the manager also lamented the concession of the opening goal. “It’s a great thing to be able to show resilience to come back but you don’t want to chase games of football,” he said. “There was no reason we had to chase today. We got into good areas and were wasteful and I've said that a few times now. Our approach play was good but the final pass and ball needs to be better.”
Beale also admitted that the award of a penalty to Rangers for Kirk Broadfoot tugging Leon Balogun’s shirt was of the softer variety. “It’s what VAR is there for,” Beale added. “Their one is more clear but ours is maybe a bit more harsh. But it’s there to look at every shirt pull. We had a much clearer one against Kilmarnock we didn’t get.”