FIRST-TEAM Coach Michael Beale was left to rue yet another “missed opportunity” for Rangers as they fell to defeat at Parkhead on Sunday.
Beale watched on as despite going a man and goal down in the East End, Gers showed tremendous resolve to dominate the match, equalise and squander some opportunities to take the lead.
Speaking this morning to RangersTV, Beale admitted it has happened too often for his side and it’s something they have only themselves to blame for.
He explained: “It was a missed opportunity – again – which has happened a lot to us. If you just look at the last two or three away games, we have missed fantastic opportunities at moments in the game where we were probably dominant and could have gone on to win.
“If I look back at the Hibs game, there is a lot of regret in terms of missed opportunities – we had some fantastic play to get those opportunities but ultimately, we haven’t taken them.
“Aberdeen away in the Cup too, in the second half particularly where we had two or three moments where we would expect to score, and then again at the weekend.
“So it is really disappointing as you can see the boys are giving us a real, honest effort, but it is probably been a bit of our season really that the gap has been opened up basically due to missed opportunities on our part.
“We can only look at ourselves really in terms of that.
“We were put in a very, very difficult situation at half time and I thought the players responded fantastically well and we will be kicking ourselves as in both penalty boxes or in big moments, we didn’t take our opportunities and definitely, we conceded soft goals.
“Togetherness as a team has not been our problem, and effort and working together has not been our problem.
“I think we have lacked a quality at times in big moments, and that would add to a greater number of points, probably six to 10 more points in the league for sure, and there has never been a moment where I have felt we have been outplayed in a whole game. But, there have certainly been periods of 10 or 15 minutes in games which have been difficult – I can only think of the two Old Firm games where we have had extensive periods of difficult moments in terms of one half.
“But for the majority of matches this season, we have been the team with the ball and the most dominant team, and we have had a problem taking our chances or opening the door.
“That is something the staff are looking at, the players are certainly working hard, but maybe we need to get them some help in those areas.”
While it has happened on more occasions than Beale, Steven Gerrard and the rest of the coaching staff would have liked, Gers again showed how adept they are at playing when down to 10 men, though Beale pointed out the longer-term impact it can have on the players.
“There are two things,” he continued. “Tactically, they have been very, very good and they have been eight or nine times and that tells one story that we are obviously pleased with how we react to adversity in that sense.
“But the other thing is the knock-on effect that people maybe don’t realise is playing having had a sending off-in the first-half, and the effect on the next game and the games afterwards in terms of fatigue and ultimately, what can turn into an injury because of that.
“That indiscipline has been disappointing on our part, and when we look back over it, it’s important we don’t always blame the officials as it has happened too often for us to look at that angle of it.
“I think we are disappointed as there are a lot of “what-ifs” in the season – and we don’t like that as we ultimately want to be in control of our destiny and I think at times we have been guilty of causing our own problems.”
With Celtic also going down to 10-men with Dedryck Boyata going off injured, Gers introduced Jermain Defoe in search of a winning goal given how on top they were in the match – making James Forrest’s winning goal all the more frustrating for Beale.
He continued: “I think everyone watching the game or in the stadium would have felt we would be the team which would go on to win.
“We had just missed a huge opportunity to go to 2-1 and we were the team with the ball – you could sense it in their crowd and you could hear our 800 over their 60,000 at that moment and I think their bench was very anxious.
“Again, we shot ourselves in the foot, so we only have ourselves to blame. Ultimately, it says the other team won the game, but I would like to think we threw it away because the sending-off certainly hampers us.
“The two goals we give away are really disappointing as we have those same opportunities and don’t score, so I think when you look back on the season, it has to be our reflection that things were in our hands and ultimately, we haven’t taken those opportunities that were presented to us.”