By George Overhill

26th Apr, 2023 | 1:10pm

Michael Beale sack verdict as Rangers boss could be half-way to exit in May thanks to Celtic

Michael Beale could be gone as Rangers manager before the end of next season if Celtic win the treble in the current campaign, suggests Michael Grant in The Times.

The Ibrox boss may have only suffered his first defeat outside of Old Firm derbies to Aberdeen on Sunday (23 April), but hasn’t won in three against the Hoops.

That has already seen the Viaplay Cup go to Parkhead and with the pair set to face off in the Scottish Cup semi final on Sunday (30 April) could yet see Rangers finish the season empty handed while their rivals lift three trophies, which would give the former QPR boss zero leeway for tough times next season claims Grant.

He writes in The Times: “Michael Beale is smart and streetwise enough to genuinely “get” Rangers and the expectations around the club he cannot bridle at the suggestion that in the very worst case scenario he might already be at the half-way point of his reign.

“That’s how quickly things can race away from a manager. Losing on Sunday would not be catastrophic for Beale in itself but it would harden the criticism towards him and imperceptibly shorten his shelf life.”

He went on: “Beale is sure to last longer than [Giovanni] Van Bronckhorst only if he starts to deliver wins in more of the big games. It is not essential that that starts on Sunday, not quite, but it has to happen when they enter the Champions League third qualifying round and next season’s derbies.

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“Lose this Sunday and there will be nothing from his first half-season in charge which buys him any time when there are the inevitable turbulent spells to come.”

Brutal truth

The cup and the Europa League final were nice achievements for Van Bronckhorst but his reign will arguably be remembered as much for the failures as the successes.

Eight games, zero wins, 29 goals conceded and just two scored, across the worst Champions League group stage in history and a pair of demoralising away Old Firms that derailed back-to-back title races meant he barely lasted a year.

Beale has lifted the fortunes outside of the biggest games but without a trophy or a win against Celtic in over half a season his start at the club could only be considered a qualified success at best.

He could easily have had a pair of league wins in derbies and narrowed the title race to a point where it required genuine attention again, but fine margins won’t save him for long.

Rangers need something to show for this season or the knock-on effect will put even more pressure on the summer transfer window, and in turn the following campaign.

So it might sound hyperbolic but in reality it’s true that the current manager won’t last much longer than the last one if the key games don’t start going his way.

In other Rangers news, a possible replacement for a long-term immovable player could be on the cards as a Gers man is dispatched on a scouting mission.