Michael Beale speaks on unkind Rangers schedule, fans and cow fields as Callum Davidson misses Saints support

Michael Beale hailed his players and the Rangers fans after the 1-0 win over St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup fourth round following a demanding schedule.

The Ibrox side eked out a 1-0 win at McDiarmid Park thanks to Borna Barisic's fantastic strike. It was the team's third game in the space of a week following victories over Aberdeen in the League Cup semi-final and Kilmarnock in the league.

“I’m delighted with everything,” Beale said. “It’s been three games in six days, all away from Ibrox. I want to talk about our fans who have travelled around in January, which isn’t easy after Christmas and New Year. I’m pleased to reward them by getting through.

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“When the draw was made, everyone looked at it as a sticky game on a difficult pitch. That’s exactly what it was. It wasn’t perfect but the most important thing was winning, a clean sheet and being in the next round. We certainly didn’t need three games in six days on two cow fields.

"We’ve got a free week now before St Johnstone again at Ibrox. Out of the nine games since I arrived, six have been away from Ibrox so the schedule hasn’t been kind to me.”

Beale admitted his players "were running on empty a bit” and that he's “not in that position of strength yet” to rotate too much. With no games midweek the team are set to get a couple of days off to relax.

“They've seen a lot of each other and been in a lot of hotels this week. They are probably hating listening to my voice because I'm obviously getting into them a little bit. I'll give them a little bit of a breather and then we'll get ready to play St Johnstone.”

The Rangers boss, who hopes to add one or two new faces, also praised the role of Barisic and his first goal in open play for a “couple of years”.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson and Rangers boss Michael Beale shake hands. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson and Rangers boss Michael Beale shake hands. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson and Rangers boss Michael Beale shake hands. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“He got an assist in midweek as well,” Beale said. “I was told at a press conference recently that fans were criticising him. They won’t be criticising him tonight.”

‘Understand fully’

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson felt his team missed the fans who boycotted the game, noting he understood “fully why they are not here”.

"The last two home performances haven’t been good enough for me and I thought we got back to what we do best tonight," he said. “We lost the goal at a difficult time. James has just come off and within 60 seconds we concede in the 44th minute. I said to the players at half-time to keep doing it. Keep working hard and we will get chances against a very good team who actually controlled the ball really well on the surface.

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"I hope the supporters who were here appreciated it. And the supporters watching at home too. We missed the fans, definitely, especially the last 10-15 minutes when we are trying to put a bit of pressure on, they always help. If they were on the far side they would definitely helped us pin Rangers back and try to get that goal. With them not being there it was difficult and when the game finished it was pretty quiet. It was tough that they weren’t there but I fully understand why.”



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