With a mixed start to both our domestic and European campaigns in the year of 2023/24, Rangers manager Michael Beale has plenty to sort out as we go into the first international break of the year. We did have Champions League dreams, but now we find ourselves back in the Europa League after the heavy Qualifying Play Off Leg defeat to Dutch giants and and Eredivisie side, PSV Eindhoven, and in the Scottish Premiership we are sat in fourth place, already four points off the top two having now suffered two defeats.
Whilst some pressure is building in the fan base and in certain quarters of the media, former Rangers striker Kenny Miller is another of those voices in the wider world of football who feels that Beale can still turn this around and get us back on track – but that the change in our form, and far greater consistency in performances and the results we gained are definitely needed and quickly. Playing for Rangers is not like trying to play casino online, it is not a roulette wheel of chance, you perform or you know about it.
Speaking to BBC Sport Scotland, having had three spells of his own at Ibrox across his long playing career and knowing the fans, and the pressures pretty well, Miller explained.
“I understand the frustrations of fans but stability and continuity, for me, gives you a better chance of actually achieving success. Where Rangers are at, at the moment, is not what any Rangers fan wants to see. Only time will tell if Michael will be the right man to move things forward, but he definitely deserves the chance to have the best possible chance to let it develop and get better.”
Miller was clear that it was not just Beale who needed to step up tactically and with his game plans for individual games, equally the players had to shoulder their share and show improvements in their performances, and in their consistency – not least in their quality at key turning points in games moving forward.
“Absolutely, I think he can recover. It’s four games into the season, in terms of the league. There’s a long way to go. There does need to be significant improvements but there’s not one person, player, coach or manager within Rangers not thinking the exact same thing. The fans need to understand that. It’s not just the manager. He has to shoulder the responsibility of the signings, I get it. But it’s also up to individuals to take a responsibility on the field and go and perform.”
Whilst Miller did not directly say it, he did strongly imply that Beale was actually suffering from his own massive overhaul this summer which saw nine new signings come in, with the likes of Alfredo Moralos and Ryan Kent moving on, so clearly there are gelling issues to factor in as players get to know what he wants, as well as forming understandings with their new colleagues, and importantly, the demands of fans in particular.
“Nine new players have come into the club. They need to understand who they’re representing and what it takes to actually deliver success. Playing for Rangers, this just comes with the territory. If you fall down, fall short in the big games then you’re going to face criticism. Sometimes it’s scathing and it was in the aftermath of Sunday. It’s really important in the next phase of games that they go unscathed.”
Let us hope the international break works in our favour.