Malik Tillman: What Michael Beale won't ask Rangers star to do 'in case people are watching'

‘He's Malik, you know, give him the ball and he’ll score’ rang out around Ibrox as all hell was breaking loose in the Partick Thistle box. The American was ushered away from the epicentre, able to catch his breath and express his confusion at what had just happened.

The on-loan Bayern Munich star had just been popped on his backside by Thistle trio Kevin Holt, Aaron Muirhead and goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon. For the heinous crime of scoring a goal? That's what must have been going through his mind, “completely unaware”, according to Rangers boss Michael Beale, that the opposition were about to give the ball back. It had been put out of play after the midfielder had been trodden on by Harry Milne.

Strip back the controversy and the fall-out, Tillman displayed his balance, close control and composure to round not only Sneddon but Connor McAvoy before sliding it into the empty net. It was actually a goal his performance deserved. Beale called his first 11 “lousy”, a terrible first-half performance forcing his hand into two changes. Through it all, Tillman was the player most likely to create, to score, to entertain. As he has been so often for Rangers. His skill and technique, vision and awareness should make him one of the first on Beale’s team sheet. In fact, his display deserved the crowning moment at the end when he danced through a Thistle defence only to be thwarted by Sneddon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Since I have been here and since the first interview I said I was excited to work with him," Beale said. “I think he is a fantastic young player and he has been terrific for the last few weeks, absolutely outstanding. I am glad that we collectively made the decision we did because I didn’t want to be sitting here talking about Malik Tillman in a different light.

"Malik deserves things said and written about him that are the right things because his effort his fantastic, his quality is fantastic. He won us a penalty. He is driving up the pitch, he is taking on a lot of information for a 20-year-old. I couldn’t be happier with his contribution.”

‘Stronger and stronger’

There may have been some Rangers fans who were slow to warm to the 20-year-old. No doubt about his quality but more so about the consistency and perhaps that killer contribution needed for a Rangers attacker. There can no longer be any doubts. In fact it has flipped. There should be a real desire for him to stay beyond his loan deal. Beale noted “he can’t ask him to play poorly in case people are watching”.

“He is a very good player and that is why he has come from such a prestigious club," he said. “He has come into our league, he has had to adjust. It is not easy, we have seen players come out of the Premier League and take time to adjust in this league and players with big reputations have struggled. He is getting stronger and stronger.

"He is learning a new position, which will keep him in good stead moving forward playing in midfield and moving out of there. He is a joy to work with every single day.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.