Rangers reaction: Beale’s tightrope walk not short, time for change passed, Catholics and Tartan Army trashed
Rangers manager needs three of four
A sequence of four home games in the next fortnight, in the aftermath of his team delivering in their daren’t-not-win-for his-sake assignment in Perth, was presented by Michael Beale as an opportunity. He has to make that so. Straight victories in these games would undoubtedly shift the focus away from any immediate danger to his position, which has been suffocating since the loss to Celtic brought up a disastrous double in the week of the 5-1 stuffing by PSV Eindhoven for their Champions League crash.
The issue is that the Ibrox men, after not exactly producing commanding form against the Premiership’s bottom club, don’t look in the sort of fettle to stand up to Real Betis as the Europa League group stages begin on Thursday. Opponents Beale was keen to point out were sixth in La Liga last season. That said, the home denizens will give them something of a pass providing they are not pasted by their visitors. Beyond that in their home run, there will be no safety net. It would surely be unthinkable to the Englishman’s backers in the boardroom for him to preside over failures against any one of Motherwell next Sunday, Livingston in Wednesday’s Viaplay Cup quarter-final - a trophy the fanbase cannot countenance eluding them after Celtic’s elimination - and Aberdeen the following weekend, bitter rivals who appear in complete disarray. Beale’s tightrope walk isn’t a short one.
Time for change has passed
The cheekbone fracture sustained by striker Danilo in the moment of netting with a brave and clinical header is a crying shame for the luckless player, and desperately unfortunate for his club and manager. Yet, his replacement Aballah Sima was a penetrating presence on the attacking flank after replacing him with 20 minutes on the clock. Kemar Roofe then played through the middle. Once Rabbi Matondo was introduced for the flaky Sam Lammers later on, the Ibrox men appeared to have greater variety and propulsion, the Welshman using these facets to plunder his side’s second.
Helped by Tom Lawrence moving to a more central role, in all but one department - following a period of disorientating personnel churn - the line-up that Beale had in place at the final whistle in McDiarmid Park should be his starting selection for Betis. Left-back Ridvan Yilmaz giving way to Borna Barisic the only change required, with the Turkish defender not named in the club’s European squad list.
Catholics and Tartan Army trashed
The loathing expressed by sections of the Rangers support since their team’s defeat to Celtic were directed towards Michael Beale. Self-loathing seemed more the order of the day at McDiarmid Park. In the form of sectarianism effectively expressing hatred over their country being home to Catholics, and those of Irish-Catholic heritage. Reflected in the No Pope of Rome chant being given a lusty airing, along with various ditties built around abusive terms that deployed the word Fenian.
The visiting fans also gave it tight to the Tartan Army, presumably for expressing their republican sympathies in the midweek friendly against England by booing God Save The King. An anthem the Rangers contingent belted out proudly in Perth behind the goals at the ground…as they told the world where “you can stick the Tartan Army”. Certainly there aren’t many countries in which the fans of one club hate the fans of their national team. An obvious crossover here.
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