Rangers manager Michael Beale has promised “the biggest rebuild in years” after seeing his side lose to Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
A defensive mistake allowed Daizen Maeda to cross for Jota to head in the only goal of the game, putting Ange Postecoglou’s side looking at the prospect of a domestic treble and Rangers contemplating a trophyless season.
Beale, who succeeded Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November, admitted his disappointment at the result and said that he expected his squad to look a lot different after the summer transfer window.
Asked if out-of-contract stars Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent had played their last game for Rangers at Hampden, Beale replied “Possibly, yes” and indicated that there would be a lot of transfer movement at Ibrox in the next few months.
“It’ll be the biggest rebuild this club will have seen in a number of years,” the Rangers boss said. “You have to be respectful.
“You come in in November and know that changes will have to be made and every time you come into a press conference people ask you about it.
I’ve got a group of players that I need to manage and keep moving forward and motivate for the games that I’ve been here for. It’s obvious that I’m not going to come out and condemn people and send people away.
“But it’s also obvious that we’re getting to the summer and there’s going to be some change. If you haven’t heard any news now around certain players it would be amiss not to be asking questions. If you don’t hear anything and people’s contracts are running out then it probably gives you a good indication that there’s change in the air.”
He added: “Coming back to the club in the middle of the season I knew there was going to be change.
“I think now we’ve been in need of the summer for a while, to be honest, but we’ve managed to keep some players moving forward and managed to keep the squad moving forward but I think for the fans and for the squad we need some new faces to come in and some renewed energy.”
Beale felt his players had performed reasonably well overall in the semi-final but was left to rue some costly moments.
“I’m bitterly disappointed,” he said. “Fine margins will generally decide big games and I think we’ve made an error again in a moment and conceded a goal and the game’s been very harsh on us.
“I thought second half we took the game to Celtic, had big moments and haven’t executed them.
“In big games you can’t have the amount of play and opportunities that we had and make a mistake and get away with it.
“The ideas and some of the way we play is very good and on days like today we’re able to create big opportunities to give ourselves a better future. This season we haven’t been able to take it.
“The people I feel most for are the fans because they expect more from their team. I expect more from this team as well.
“Moving forward, we all have to do better.”
Reflecting on the season as a whole, Beale said that the optimism from qualifying for the Champions League had been unfulfilled.
“We have to play the games in front of us,” he said. “It’s a big weight and responsibility wearing the shirt for Rangers. It’s a huge privilege as well.
“And next week Ibrox will be an interesting place but the fans will be there because that’s what they do. They support their team and they’ll expect their team to win. That’s what happens.
We need to… this one will sting for a few days, but the problems are not today, are they? The problems are throughout the season.
“It’s been a disappointing season. If I’m a Rangers fan from the moment we beat PSV this season promised a lot more than what it’s given.
“It’s the first season in a couple of years where we haven’t won a trophy or we haven’t had a big finale to the end of the season and that’s really disappointing for me as the manager and everybody that’s associated with the club.”
“All we can do is move forward and do better. We need to do better.”