Beale at Rangers: 307 days, millions spent, seven points behind Celtic, zero trophies

The former Ibrox coach spent nearly a year in the top job but couldn't deliver success.

Michael Beale has been removed from his position as Rangers manager after a poor start to the season at Ibrox.

The Englishman paid the price for a 3-1 home defeat to Aberdeen that saw Rangers trailing in the Premiership after just seven games, having already missed out on Champions League football this season.

Beale had arrived last year to succeed Giovanni van Bronckhorst and tasked with delivering silverware but, after ten months in charge and having reshaped the squad, he saw his side struggle before the board decided a change at the top was needed.

We’ve looked back at the key moments from his time as Rangers manager.

Rangers return

Michael Beale is unveiled as the new Manager of Rangers Football Club at Ibrox Stadium, on December 1, 2022.

Beale had spent over three years at Ibrox as a coach in Steven Gerrard’s staff but had left when the former England star head back south to take over at Aston Villa. After a short time in Birmingham, he struck out on his own at Queen’s Park Rangers in his first managerial role.

When Giovanni van Bronckhorst paid the price for poor results, including a disastrous European campaign, Beale was given the call and said he was excited by the challenge ahead.

Bright start

Michael Beale is named cinch Premiership Manager of the Month for December alongside his backroom staff at the Rangers Training Centre, on January 6, 2023.

The new manager began with a 3-2 win over Hibernian and followed that up with wins over Aberdeen, Ross County and Motherwell.

That positive start was enough to see the new boss named as Premiership Manager of the Month for December but the first game of 2023 was to bring his toughest test yet.

Derby draw

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi runs to collect the ball after scoring a late equaliser to make it 2-2 during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium, on January 2, 2023.

Beale, like any Rangers manager, knew that results against rivals Celtic go a long way towards determining success.

In his first derby at Ibrox, the new manager saw his side concede after just five minutes, when Daizen Maeda scored. Ryan Kent and James Tavernier scored second half goals put Rangers ahead but, just as they were closing in on what would have been a confidence-building victory, Kyogo Furuhashi pounced to score an 88th minute equaliser and maintain his side’s lead at the top of the table.

New faces

Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin after a cinch Premiership match between Livingston and Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena, on February 18, 2023.

Beale was clear about his wish to put his own stamp on the team and the first opportunity came in the January transfer window.

Todd Cantwell was recruited from Norwich City and Nicolas Raskin arrived from Standard Liege to add something new to the team. Both slotted in immediately and impressed in the second half of the season.

League cup final disappointment

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi scores to make it 2-0 during the Viaplay Cup final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park, on February 26, 2023.

Rangers had extended their unbeaten run to 14 games under Beale and made their way to the League Cup final, giving the manager an early chance to lift silverware.

Standing in their way was a Celtic side that was in full flow under Ange Postecoglou and it was the team from the east end who came out on top.

Once again it was Kyogo Furuhashi who did the damage, scoring twice before Alfredo Morelos netted for Rangers. A Celtic side who were already heavy title favourites had lifted the first trophy of the season.

Another Hampden headache

The teams emerge onto the pitch during a Scottish Cup semi-final match between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park, on April 30, 2023.SNS Group

A league defeat to Celtic had seen the gap in the league opened up to 12 points but the Scottish Cup offered a final chance of success in Beale’s first season.

Victories over Partick Thistle and Raith Rovers had taken Rangers to the semi-finals, where they would meet their old rivals once again.

A tense and tight game produced few chances but Celtic were ruthless when they had theirs. Just before half-time Maeda seized on a defensive mistake and put a cross to the back post where Jota nodded in unmarked. Beale’s trophy hopes were over and Celtic would go on to win the treble.

First win over Celtic

Fashion Sakala celebrates making it 3-0 Rangers during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium, on May 13, 2023.

With the league title already decided, there was still a final Old Firm encounter of the season to play and Beale was looking for an encouraging result to take into the summer.

He got just that with an emphatic 3-0 win over a Celtic side who had already achieved their main objective for the season.

Todd Cantwell put Rangers ahead after just five minutes, with John Souttar doubling his side’s advantage after half an hour had been played. Fashion Sakala netted a late third to ensure Rangers fans, and Beale, could look ahead to the summer with optimism.

The summer rebuild

Rangers' Cyriel Dessers during a pre-season friendly match between Rangers and Hamburg at Ibrox Stadium, on July 22, 2023.

Beale had long talked about revamping his squad when given the chance, and summer saw a huge turnover in the squad.

Ten players left the squad, including Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, with Beale bringing in nine new faces that he believed would lift the team to the level needed to compete in European and domestic competition.

Particular attention was paid to building a new-look attack, with Sam Lammers, Cyriel Desser, Danilo and Abdallah Sima joining the club.

Shock defeat at Kilmarnock

Rangers manager Michael Beale during a cinch Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Rangers at Rugby Park, on August 5, 2023.

Rangers and Michael Beale travelled to Rugby Park for the first game of the new season full of belief and optimism after a raft of new arrivals and a pre-season programme to have them ready for the challenges ahead.

Kilmarnock put a huge dent in the side’s confidence, thwarting the new-look attack and then striking a huge blow when Brad Lyons scored the only goal of the game in the second half. With Celtic winning their opening game against Ross County, Rangers were three points behind in the title race after one weekend.

PSV’s revenge

Rangers manager Michael Beale looks dejected during a UEFA Champions League Play-Off second leg match between PSV Eindhoven and Rangers at the Phillips Stadion, on August 30, 2023.

Having seen off Servette, Rangers faced PSV in the Champions League play-off a year after Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side had seen off the same opposition at the same stage.

A 2-2 draw at Ibrox set up an all-or-nothing match in Eindhoven and Beale’s side was thoroughly outclassed.

Ismail Saibari scored twice in the first hour before James Tavernier pulled a goal back for Rangers but Luuk de Jong and Joey Veerman found the net before Connor Goldson capped a miserable night with an own goal.

Derby defeat (again)

Celtic's Kyogo Furuhashi scores to make it 1-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium, on September 3, 2023.

Beale and his side had an immediate opportunity to bounce back from the European defeat, and recover their league position, when Celtic arrived for the first derby of the season.

With Brendan Rodgers’ side suffering an injury crisis and fielding a makeshift defence, Rangers were fancied to record a statement win and get their season going.

Instead, Celtic proved the more clinical side once again, with Kyogo netting a fine finish after Rangers had seen a goal disallowed.

The gap had opened up further and Beale was under immense pressure as the team went into the international break.

Aberdeen stun Ibrox and Rangers remove Beale

Rangers Manager Michael Beale during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Aberdeen at Ibrox Stadium, on September 30, 2023.

Defeat to Celtic demanded a response and though Rangers returned from the break to win four games in a row, performances were patchy and the Ibrox crowd made their displeasure known.

Beale’s signings and tactics were under scrutiny and the underwhelming start meant that he couldn’t afford any more slip ups.

The performance against Aberdeen sealed his fate. Barry Robson’s side were deserved 3-1 winners and Beale said after the match that he accepted results and performances weren’t good enough.

The Rangers board agreed and before the weekend was out they had confirmed they had terminated the manager’s contract and begun the search for a new boss.

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