Michael Beale will postpone his inquest into Rangers humbling Champions League demise until after Sunday’s crunch Old Firm game at Ibrox. The Light Blues lost 5-1 in the second leg of their play-off against PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands on Wednesday night to exit 7-3 on aggregate. However, the Gers boss has no time to dissect a calamitous night for the Govan club – for whom he has signed nine players this summer – as he looks to leapfrog Celtic by two points with a victory in the first Old Firm game of the season.
Beale believes the Celtic game offers the perfect opportunity to bounce back. He said: “Of course it does. If we can go into the international break on the back of a win this weekend I think we are in a really good place. We will be able to assess this first period in terms of bringing in new players up to September. We will always want to improve in the way that we play, but as I say the last two league games we’ve had two cleans sheets, we’ve scored six goals, six different goalscorers, we’ve had the most shots in the league. So we are moving in the right direction.
“I must pick the bones out of Wednesday night at the right time. It would be remiss of me to do that in between Wednesday and this huge game on Sunday. It’s important that we dust ourselves down and we show a big response as a team and as a club. It’s a great opportunity and the eyes of everybody will be on us for sure.”
Beale was asked, though, if he had a message for dissenting fans in the wake of the PSV defeat and if criticism was merited. "It’s expected when the scoreline is the way it is,” said Beale. “We don’t like that, a club of our stature and our size. We should never accept that either. There was reason for it in the game we were in. We knew it was going to be tough, I think they are an excellent team. They are a very, very good team and we tried to find a way to compete and stay with them as best as we could and in the home leg we did that.
“I thought there were some difficulties for us in the game, everyone can see that and we need to improve. Thankfully we are not playing a team of that level week in, week out. They are a good team and the season will prove that. We apologise to the fans for the margin of the result. It’s not nice, it’s not something that you ever like. We really wanted to take the fans and the club back to the Champions League.”
Beale confirmed that Borna Barisic will be available against Celtic after scans showed no lasting damage from the injury he sustained against PSV.