Michael Beale outlines Rangers transfer plans in wake of Celtic draw after making admission over league title
Thoughts were already turning to next season at Ibrox following failure to take all three points from a must-win clash with Celtic. Beale admitted the title is now Celtic’s “to throw away” after a late equaliser from Kyogo Furuhashi denied Rangers a vital win and kept the gap between the teams at nine points.
The home side had recovered well after conceding an early goal from Daizen Maeda. Two quick goals after half-time from Ryan Kent and James Tavernier’s penalty put Rangers in sight of a win that would have cut Celtic’s lead to six points with still two more Old Firm games left. But Kyogo’s late leveller silenced Ibrox and had Beale, who was appointed just a few short weeks ago, contemplating the long-term future at the club. He all but conceded the title to Celtic afterwards.
“It is Celtic’s to throw away in terms of the league,” Beale said. “But in terms of our mentality and where we are I think we are one or two steps ahead than we were a few weeks ago but we need to be ten more.”
Beale will look to bring in at least two players in the current window as he tries to get Rangers back to a position where they are a match for Celtic in every department. He is targeting quality over quantity.
“I definitely want to bring in players but they’ve got to be the right players,” he said. “I want John Souttar fit, Ridvan (Yilmaz), Ianis Hagi, Tom Lawrence, Kemar Roofe and Antonio Colak, that will be a start.
“If we can add two or three more to it then we could have a second team as good as the first team that was out there today, then it’s game on inside the building.
“You have to earn your shirt,” he added. “I think the last few weeks people have played regardless. None of you know whether I fancy these players or not because they are the players I’ve got. They’ve gone and got the results up until today, they were three minutes away from getting a good performance and I think that should maybe move people’s minds a bit.”
Beale praised the efforts of Fashion Sakala and Ryan Kent, who combined to level the scoreline two minutes into the second half. Sakala also won the penalty that saw the hosts take the lead after 53 minutes.
“That was the Fashion Sakala that I saw on the video before we signed him,” Beale said, with reference to his first spell at the club as first-team coach under Steven Gerrard.
“He likes this fixture. The same with Ryan. I asked the three forwards to go and cause some disruption and I felt in the second half Alfredo (Morelos) started winning more of the duels against the centre halves and that gave Sakala and Ryan more room."
Kent’s equaliser was only his second league goal of the season. “Ryan Kent’s quality for this football club is not in question inside this building and certainly not by me,” said Beale. “All the time I am here Ryan has a place here and is loved. Time and time again when it matters Ryan Kent shows up for this club.”