Rangers manager Michael Beale has a vision for the future of the club.
He has taken time to assess the playing staff since his return to Ibrox at the end of last year. It became clear to him that things must change.
The supporters are frustrated at a lack of trophies, and Beale has started an ongoing process to provide a more competitive side. He believes the players he inherited, and knew from his first stint at Rangers, should have won more.
They didn’t, and he accepts it’s time to cut some ties with the past. That will mean players leaving this summer, but it looks like Ryan Jack won’t be one of them.
The midfielder has impressed Beale, and seems likely to be offered a new contract.
Beale said: “From the boy I met in 2018 to the one I worked with during Steven Gerrard’s time, the way he’s flourished as a player and the level he’s been able to play at – it’s been fantastic to see Ryan’s journey.
“He sets the standard for us, and is certainly a player I want to work with moving forward.
“Injuries have been the thing that’s held him back. I have to manage him at times to make sure he’s fit and available. He doesn’t like that.
“He trains the way he plays, and he wants to play every week. It’s just about making sure that he stays healthy for himself.”
Beale maintains Jack has improved as player and a person since he arrived from Aberdeen.
He went on: “He’s a young father and that helps you mature.
“The experience he’s had for Rangers and Scotland at European and international level has helped him grow his understanding.
“He’s a fine footballer, and the only thing that has stopped him going even further are the injury spells.
“Every manager who has worked with him at Rangers, Aberdeen and Scotland has always had him as a key part of their team and changing room.
“We’ve had a couple of conversations. Like most players, he wants his future sorted out.
“If there wasn’t a change of manager in the middle of the season, maybe one or two things would have been sorted out.
“But it’s right that I’ve taken time to look, assess and see where the group is at.
“I had to see the scale of the change I want to make moving forward. It’s important we build a strong Rangers and don’t live in the past.”
There have been successes for Rangers in the recent past – winning the Premiership in 2021 and the Scottish Cup last year, along with reaching the Europa League Final.
But that’s not enough for Beale or the fans. Both want to see the team beat Raith Rovers in today’s Scottish Cup quarter-final and continue raising the standard of performance.
Beale went on: “It’s a strange one because the form, both in Europe and domestically, had been strong for quite a long time at the club.
“They could certainly have won more, this group of players. We need to cut the cord from the past.
“There have been some déjà vu moments in the last few weeks because it’s me coaching the team, and we have some issues we had before at the same stage when we were building.
“So we’re cutting from the past and moving in a different direction in terms of the way we’re playing.
“And we’re moving in a different direction recruiting new players.
“A lot of people have done a lot of good things over the last few years, but the club needs to move forward. The game doesn’t wait for anyone.
“That’s what the coming months are about.”
Many people assume Glen Kamara will be one of those heading for pastures new.
But Beale talks warmly about the midfielder, despite his recent absence from the starting line-up.
He said: “Glen has had a lot of people interested in him. There’s always been something in the background, and suggestions there could be a bid.
“He was really essential to the way we played when I was here previously. Since I’ve been back, he’s had some big performances, even in the last month.
“Like the team, he fell below the levels against Celtic. We changed the midfield for the next game, and another three are in because they’re playing well.
“I’m sure Glen will come again. He’s a boy that I’m close to.”
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