Michael Beale challenged Rangers to reach their highest heights in the final Old Firm game of the season at Ibrox on Saturday.
The Rangers boss has not won in four games against the cinch Premiership champions since taking over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November and the Light Blues have failed to register a victory in the last six Glasgow derbies.
Beale is looking for a marker win against their city rivals to end the sequence of disappointment and take into the start of next season, where as runners-up the club will go into Champions League qualifiers.
“In the main I have been pleased,” said the former QPR manager.
“We have had a couple of really sore results and sore days since I have come in but in terms of attitude and commitment, I can’t fault that.
“It is important that we start to show that we can win against opponents of similar level or a higher level than us.
“That’s the challenge for this group, now and in the next four or five months, to prove that in the days when the game is in balance that we have the big moments and in games in Europe where you might see another team’s name and you might think their squad is worth more or whatnot, that this team stands up and show it.
“They have done it in the past, they have upset the odds in big European games and domestic ones, I would say to this group that they need to start doing it again.”
Beale refused to confirm a new contract for fit-again midfielder Ryan Jack.
But he did say: “The talks are ongoing. I have stated publicly that I would like Ryan to stay so that would probably give you a steer as to where that will end up.”
Asked about reports that Rangers are set to sign 23-year-old Chelsea defender Dujon Sterling, whom Beale coached when the full-back was a kid at the London club, he said: “There is a lot of speculation and names but until anything is concrete we don’t want to talk about any individual players.
“He is a good player but I don’t want to say any more than that.
Beale, who will keep Robby McCrorie in goal at the expense of veteran keeper Allan McGregor and will be without Ben Davies and Ryan Kent, was more expansive about outgoing striker Alfredo Morelos, whom he criticised last week following the 1-0 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox.
The Colombia striker came off the bench with Scott Arfield, Glen Kamara and Scott Wright just after Todd Cantwell’s winning goal and Beale said afterwards: “I think you saw a difference when Alfredo came on in terms of energy but not a positive difference as well.
“Alfredo will still be in the squad and available for selection.
“I spoke to him before I made those comments. I didn’t think it was his best performance in terms of energy. I have not had to say that too much working with him.
“Our relationship is really honest. There is no issue between me and him but like with any player if their energy needs to be better I will say it.
“Alfredo is quite robust, he has lived and worked in Scotland for five or six years.
“A lot worse has been said about Alfredo in that time and I thought he could have made a more positive impact. He is fine. He is a Rangers player until he moves on. There is no drama between me and Alfredo.”
On McCrorie retaining the number-one spot, he said: “I have faith in Robby. He wasn’t available for the majority of time I have been here.
“We are at the stage where it is a moment for Robby to have a run of games and showcase what he has and I thought last week was a good step in the right direction for him. I thought he was excellent.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.
You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.