Michael Beale bemoaned more “horror show” defending by Rangers before the Light Blues emerged 5-2 winners over St Mirren at Ibrox.
Two glaring mistakes had cost the Gers dearly in last week’s 3-2 defeat at Celtic Park which effectively ended their Premiership title hopes – and there was more to come against the Buddies
Paisley keeper Trevor Carson saved a James Tavernier penalty after five minutes, but Gers midfielder Todd Cantwell notched in the 26th minute, only for Mark O’Hara to level just before the break following some lacklustre Gers defending.
Fashion Sakala restored the home side’s lead soon after the interval but O’Hara again equalised in the 65th minute after Rangers failed to properly clear a corner.
A late double from Alfredo Morelos and a fine finish from substitute Scott Arfield clinched the points but Beale was looking for so much more.
He said: “I thought our first goal was excellent. It was nice to see Todd get beyond the two strikers and score. We were hoping to then kick on. But we over-indulged a little bit, became a little bit tippy-tappy. We forgot that when we lose the ball, we have to go and press. I was really annoyed with St Mirren’s first goal.
“Take nothing away from the boy O’Hara, it was a fantastic strike. But if you rewind it back, we had a four-versus-three in the attacking third.
“We were very wasteful in that moment – and our reaction from that was dreadful. From everybody – from Todd after shooting, from the reaction of people running back, the back four dropped off.
“There was a cross-ball which we didn’t get out to. It was a horror show for us – and I told them that at half-time.
“I expected us to come out and be better in the second half. We scored again and you think: ‘Ok, we’ll settle down and go again’.
“But then we let in another sloppy goal. It was the changes to the side, the shape and the personnel, that won us the game.
“But at half-time, I’m having to say one or two words I don’t need to. I need to see the same energy out of possession as we’re seeing in possession”.
Beale again returned to the Celtic defeat when mistakes by John Souttar and Ben Davies led to Hoops goal and continued his critical analysis.
He said: “We lost a big game last weekend to two errors that we could do better with and this week we lost two goals with two poor moments. It’s not a good look on us as a team.
“It’s something the staff pride themselves on — our defensive organisation and our pressing.
“Whenever this club has done well in the last few years it has been because of the team effort when defending and it’s not something I’m willing to accept.
“Sometimes I have to smile a little bit more but I’m setting this team up for bigger challenges, bigger days and to go on long runs.
“The good teams don’t let goals in. The good teams keep clean sheets and if they don’t, they let in one.
“I’m going to be annoyed about it and it takes me a few days to get over it. They certainly feel it behind the scenes”.
Boss Stephen Robinson was disappointed that St Mirren could not clinch a top-six spot in the cinch Premiership for the first time since the split was introduced in Scotland’s top flight at the start of the century.
With one fixture against Kilmarnock before the split, the Buddies are in fifth place with 44 points, one ahead of Hibernian and two ahead of Livingston.
Robinson said “With 15 minutes remaining at Ibrox with a point in your hand at 2-2, we are disappointed in the outcome.
“We are an honest group and I don’t think we had enough players playing at eight, nine or 10 (out of 10) to get a result, albeit we were in a position to.
“We go into the game next week trying to win it, we are confident we can get three points and this group of players have defied the odds.
“There is no structure in place at the moment for us to be a top-six side but we are trying to change that and getting into the top six will go a long way financially to be able to do that”.
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