DEFEATED Rangers boss Michael Beale insisted he had “no complaints” after suffering his first loss at Hampden yesterday.
Two goals from Kyogo Furuhashi gave Celtic a 2-1 victory in the Viaplay League Cup Final to hand Ange Postecoglou his third trophy since arriving at Parkhead in June 2021.
Alfredo Morelos threw his side a lifeline when he pulled one back, but the holders stood firm to make sure the silverware was heading back to the end of Glasgow.
Beale, who had taken over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November, had drawn one and won all 13 of his other games in charge until the setback at the national stadium.
WALKING ON AIR…Alfredo Morelos celebrates Rangers’ consolation goal in their 2-1 loss to Celtic.
The Englishman said: “We started the game really poorly. We were always in the game, but we never played with a rhythm that we wanted to or can do in the first-half.
“There are no complaints with the result. At the start of the second-half we improved and had a big moment when Ryan Kent hits the post and we should do better with the rebound.
“If we score in that moment then it might be a momentum change, but we find ourselves 2-0 down. We score and showed a lot of character and resilience to push the game, but I was expecting more from myself and the team, so it’s disappointing.”
Beale, speaking to the Glasgow Times, added: “We didn’t play to our true level. Why that is, I will have to go back with the staff and players and look at it because there have been a few times since I have come back – and I don’t want to make a mountain of the performance because we have done well, that’s the first defeat in 15 games – but there’s been a number of games where it’s taken an honest half-time conversation to force a reaction from the team.”
CRUNCH…Rangers striker Fashion Sakala and Celtic defender Greg Taylor in a no-holds-barred challenge for the ball at Hampden.
The one that got away from Rangers after Kent struck the post fell to Fashion Sakala shortly after the turnaround.
The Zambian international striker, who had made claims that the Ibrox team were better than their city rivals, tamely hit the rebound into the sidenet.
The next challenge for Beale and his players is the visit of Kilmarnock on Saturday when they get the opportunity to shave three points off Celtic’s nine-point advantage.
The Hoops play St Mirren in Paisley at midday on Sunday.