Not when he sees the games against the teams beyond Celtic as accounting for his club being unable to put the Scottish champions under real pressure in the title race, the gap between the bitter rivals a full nine points. Beale has no quibble with the “deserved” 4-0 victory by Ange Postecoglou’s men in the only cinch Premiership meeting this campaign of the country’s footballing powerhouses, and the advantage accrued from it. What bothers him are results beyond that September afternoon. Overall, Celtic have won 16 and lost one of their other top flight encounters. And Beale believes Rangers functioning as they should be capable ought to have been able to match that return. Instead of recording one defeat and three draws in failing to win four of their 17 such encounters.
“The difference is nine points but we’ve only played each other once and they won that game, deservedly. So the difference should be three points, shouldn’t it? It should,” said the Rangers manager. “So we are six points behind against the other teams in the league, the other 10 that we play. That is the disappointing thing. If it just came down to Old Firms it would be more interesting, but you have to beat everybody else. That’s the key message.
“If the problem had been that we had only dropped points in that one game we would have a chance, on the second of January, to even it up. As it stands that ain’t going to be enough. We have to win all the other games. Unless we can go on a run of winning in big batches of games it is very hard to get to where we want to get in Scotland, full stop. It is very much us or Celtic every season when it starts, so you have to beat everybody else and do well in the Old Firms. So, for me both our games this week are only worth three points. And the three points tomorrow against Motherwell are the most important three points.”
Beale has taken the first, at times, faltering steps towards rehabilitating Rangers by stringing together three straight wins by a single-goal margin. Under predecessor Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the Ibrox men’s longest league winning run this season was four games. The Englishman has the chance to match that at Ibrox on Wednesday.
‘If you could guarantee it [a convincing win] I would take it but I just want three points,” he said. “I’d like to have more control at certain times, be a little bit stronger in our positioning and stronger in the duels all over the pitch and I think things in the final third will click. We have been missing Antonio [Colak], Kemar [Roofe], Ianis [Hagi], and [Tom] Lawrence and some of those players have been missing for a long time. The club has invested a lot in those four players and they are really key to us in the final third. I’d like to see a time where I have a problem leaving one of them out or trying to get those four players into the team. I think it will make a difference.”