Michael Beale rewrites his Celtic history as he concedes ground to 'tsunami' of pressure verdict

By John McGinley

March 18, 2023

Michael Beale admits that he will face pressure if he loses upcoming matches against Celtic, speaking in response to former Rangers striker Mark Hateley.

Hateley suggested the Ibrox boss would be facing a “tsunami” of backlash that would “only get closer and closer until it comes crashing down” at Rangers, if they lose the upcoming Scottish Premiership derby on April 8th. [Daily Record]

Beale conceded some ground to that view of the pressures involved this week, agreeing with Hateley, before giving a curious verdict on his record against Celtic.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

“My first loss in nine”

As quoted by The Rangers Review, the Ibrox manager said: “I agree with Mark. It is fine, it is par for the course. It is what you guys would say as well. There is no issue. It will be my third game in that fixture.

“We should have won the first one, we didn’t. We lost the second one and were second best in that game and it was a final. Now we have the third, fourth and fifth editions coming very quickly. The final was my first loss in nine in an Old Firm and it didn’t taste too good, to be honest.”

Apparently taking partial credit for a previous eight-game unbeaten run against the Bhoys, despite only being a coach under manager Steven Gerrard for much of it, it’s an odd assessment of his record in the derby. He wasn’t even Gerrard’s assistant – that was Gary McAllister, who appears to have been washed away from Rangers memory as Beale’s senior.

I don’t think you’d catch John Kennedy or Gavin Strachan taking any ownership of, or even referencing, results that have come under the managers they served under. Beale will only be judged on his record against Celtic as a manager, which currently reads drawn one and lost one.

As for feeling they “should have” won the derby in January – that’s not how many remember the match going. Celtic had the better of the opening 45 minutes and while Rangers had a solid 20 or 25-minute spell on top in the second half, the Bhoys’ equaliser came in the end – playing right to the final whistle has been a hallmark of this Bhoys outfit, it wasn’t luck or something undeserved.

Celtic were far from at their best and still couldn’t be beaten. I’m not sure that’s the feather in Beale’s cap he thinks it is. That was a derby they badly needed to win to keep their title hopes alive. Rangers came up short.

Ultimately the upcoming run of derbies will tell us a lot about both sides and Beale is hardly going to talk his team down in that context. There’s still so much to play for. Hopefully Celtic will be in good enough form to make his derby record as manager even less impressive.

In other news, Celtic team news vs Hibs: Ange misses 2, predicted XI, Easter Road injuries.