Michael Beale looked back on a “horrible day” after a 3-1 defeat by Aberdeen left the Rangers boss admitting his future is in the hands of the Ibrox board.

The home side missed several chances before defender Stefan Gartenmann scored his first Dons goal after 38 minutes and the Light Blues left the pitch at half-time with the boos of the Gers supporters ringing in their ears

Dons midfielder Jamie McGrath added a second in the 68th minute before Rangers’ half-time substitute Scott Wright was sent off for picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Gartenmann.

Abdallah Sima reduced the deficit in the 75th minute but Pittodrie defender Jack MacKenzie scored a third with five minutes left and the home fans stayed behind to vent their frustration at the final whistle as pressure piled on Beale, whose side already lie seven points behind league leaders Celtic.

The Gers boss said: “It was a horrible day obviously, a terrible result.

“We actually started really well. I thought Aberdeen were very compact and quite negative early on but we created three or four big chances.

“You don’t take them and we defend a set-play as poorly as we did and go in 1-0 at half-time.

“At that moment we could have done without Ridvan Yilmaz and Ryan Jack being injured because it compounds a light bench.

“We reshuffled, started the second half OK and conceded from a set-play so we don’t deserve anything from the game.”

Asked if he thought he will be given time, Beale said: “That’s somebody else’s decision. All I can do is continue with the job the best I can.

“We felt we prepared well enough tactically. We went over and around them first half and created the chances.

“It’s a really bad result and I feel the frustration and despair from the fans because we share it inside as staff and players, because first-half we had enough chances to win that game.”

While understanding the frustration of the fans, Beale claimed their reaction at half-time was “harsh”.

He said: “Listen, it’s a situation that’s escalated much faster than I thought.

“The way we played in the first half and the chances we made, I thought it was harsh to boo them off at half-time.

“We conceded from a set-play but we had played well enough to be 2-0 or 3-0 up.

“I get the frustration, they follow this club all around the world.

“It’s the fourth home game in 10 days and pretty much all of them have been sold out.

“Sometimes the supporters could help the players but one or two could help themselves.”

It was a well-deserved three points for Barry Robson’s side, who have now won three games in a row after a poor start to the season.

The Dons boss was pleased for the travelling supporters who enjoyed the victory.

He said: “It’s three points. That’s what we are in the game for. I thought in the game we were structurally very good.

“We tried to frustrate them for the first 25 minutes then grow into the game and try and bring the things we are good at to the game and I think we did that well.

“It’s a good feeling and it’s great for the fans. They deserve it.

“They came here in numbers, they sell out when we are on the road, record season ticket sales and since I’ve come in as manager it’s been amazing how they have backed us.

“That’s a brilliant performance for them. That’s what we are in it for.”

Rangers manager Michael Beale hailed a “good night” after his side beat Livingston 4-0 at Ibrox to reach the semi-finals of the Viaplay Cup.

After a bright start to the game, Abdallah Sima fired the hosts ahead just 10 minutes in before a brilliant solo effort from Ridvan Yilmaz doubled the lead in the second half.

They capped the match off with two quickfire goals in the final 10 minutes as Sima found the net from a deflection before Ryan Jack struck in stoppage time.

The win came on the back of a lacklustre 1-0 win against Motherwell in the cinch Premiership at the weekend, and Beale was pleased with how his side played.

“We won a third game in seven days, another clean sheet, we’re in a semi-final so it’s a good night for us,” he said.

“We just stayed with the ball a bit more first half, we were a bit more patient, I thought at times we could speed up a little bit, but in terms of our general possession it was much better than the weekend.

“Abdallah showed the way with his running off the ball, we need to do a bit more of that and by the end of the game we did.”

Beale also provided an injury update on Yilmaz, who was substituted shortly after scoring, and Kemar Roofe, who came off at half-time.

He said: “Ridvan was cramp and Kemar is a groin problem so we’ll know more tomorrow.”

Rangers will now meet with Hearts in the semi-final at Hampden Park in November.

Yilmaz’s stunning solo effort in the second half was arguably the pick of the goals after he made a great run from his own half down the centre of the pitch before firing the ball into the bottom corner.

He said: “(I’m) delighted for him because he’s had a rough first year and a bit to his Rangers career because he’s showed moments and flashes of why the club invested in him and why he was such a big talent in Turkey, in the national team so young, but obviously injuries have held him back.

“Hopefully that’s the start of him showing what he can do more regularly.”

Defeat knocked Livingston out of the competition, with Rangers’ victory kicked off by Sima’s finish in the first half.

The forward appeared to nudge Jamie Brandon off the ball before cutting inside to smash in the top corner and Livi manager David Martindale believes it was a foul.

“Disappointed because I did think it was a foul, I’ll be honest,” he said.

“Never got it but I thought we were spooked the first 15 minutes, I thought we struggled to get to grips with our shape.

“Then the second half, the second part of the first half I thought we managed to build ourselves back into the game, we limited them to very few chances because the first maybe 20/22 minutes something along those lines, there was a lot of chances going behind us quite a bit.

“I thought the second part of the first half we managed to build ourselves into the game, get ourselves in at half-time 1-0, had a chat, had a reshape and I thought we started the second half really well.

“I thought we were doing OK then we gave away a cheap goal, individual errors within that phase of play which was disappointing.”

Celtic and Rangers emerged with contrasting emotions despite both recording wins in week six of the cinch Premiership.

There were also wins for St Mirren, Hibernian and Aberdeen while Dundee and Kilmarnock shared the spoils at Dens Park.

Here are five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

Celtic get ‘monumental’ win

Brendan Rodgers called Celtic’s 3-0 victory at Livingston “monumental” after the champions built on their one-goal lead despite having Joe Hart sent off.

Celtic again showed a good response to adversity four days after picking up two red cards in a 2-0 defeat by Feyenoord.

Rodgers said: “Livingston is a notoriously hard place to come anyway, never mind with 10 men, so to play with that mentality was very good.”

Dons kick-start their season

Aberdeen had been experiencing their worst start to a campaign for almost a quarter of a century but they picked up their first win of the campaign at the sixth time of asking, and did so in emphatic fashion.

A 4-0 win over Ross County set the Dons up for a Viaplay Cup quarter-final in Dingwall on Wednesday.

The Saints go marching on

St Mirren are still only two points off the top after beating Hearts 1-0 in Paisley.

And it could have been more after they had three goals disallowed, two of them in controversial fashion.

Manager Stephen Robinson said: “I’ll let the fans enjoy it, let them dream and I’ll keep within the realism.”

Montgomery shows his intent

New Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery made history in his first match at Easter Road by making Rory Whittaker the club’s youngest player at only 16 years and 44 days.

Whittaker was a ball boy for Hibs earlier in the season but he came off the bench in a 2-0 win over St Johnstone that continued Montgomery’s unbeaten start to life in Scotland since his move from Central Coast Mariners.

Rangers take a step back

That was the analysis of manager Michael Beale despite a third win and clean sheet in eight days.

Beale was unimpressed by his side’s performance in a 1-0 win over Motherwell, days after being left delighted by the same scoreline against Real Betis.

The goal came courtesy of a deflection off Cyriel Dessers and Motherwell had a number of chances to maintain their seven-month unbeaten Premiership run on the road.

Beale admitted: “We got away with one.”

Rangers manager Michael Beale admitted his team “got away with one” after edging past Motherwell at Ibrox.

A 24th-minute goal from Cyriel Dessers proved enough to make it three wins and clean sheets in a row and send Rangers above their opponents into third place in the cinch Premiership.

But there were jeers at the final whistle and Beale made it clear to his players they needed to do better after scoring against the run of play and then hanging on in the final 15 minutes.

“From the first minute onwards I was unhappy with the team,” he said.

“The unforced errors with the ball are unacceptable for players playing here. That performance was a really poor one.

“It’s a good goal, something we worked on, trying to overload in the middle with the width. But outside of that, some of our play was so poor against a team in a good place, well organised, who executed their plan better than us. We constantly turned the ball over and left ourselves vulnerable.”

Rabbi Matondo went off with a knee injury after his shot led to the opener, and Beale responded by bringing on centre-back John Souttar to match Motherwell’s formation.

Beale said: “Losing Rabbi (Matondo) to injury – and it doesn’t look like a good one – didn’t help us because we had few players who could dribble with the ball.

“But actually the back three gave us some stability and some possession and some balance behind the ball. I thought those three played well and John Lundstram in front of them and Jack (Butland).

“But in terms of performance that’s well below what the players expect, I expect, the fans expect. We got away with one.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Motherwell, they played well and I’m sure Stuart (Kettlewell) will take a lot from the game, but that’s well below what I am looking for from my team. We had honest words.”

Beale was also missing Tom Lawrence, who will be out until the international break with a calf injury and did not want to throw Kemar Roofe and Abdallah Sima on until later in the game with Wednesday’s Viaplay Cup clash with Livingston in mind.

“We have a quarter-final on Wednesday and it would have been reckless putting those two out on the pitch with that in mind,” he said.

“We had to do certain things to get the result because we weren’t very good.”

Motherwell suffered their second 1-0 defeat in succession and their first loss on the road in the league since Kettlewell took charge in February.

But they created a series of late chances with substitute Oli Shaw forcing an excellent stop from Butland and Blair Spittal being denied by a goal-line clearance from James Tavernier.

A “frustrated” Kettlewell said: “I’ve been involved in a lot of teams that have played here but I can’t remember too many when we’ve been dominant in stages of games, when you’re carving out chances, pinning Rangers in.

“When you look at Rangers towards the end of the game – and this isn’t a criticism, I don’t want people taking it that way – but when their goalkeeper gets booked for wasting time and they are trying to take the ball into the corner, I’ve not really seen that much here.

“That speaks volumes for our performance, but I hold my hands up yet again, we have created chances and we’ve not capitalised on it.

“That’s two weeks now where I believe we’ve not got what we’ve deserved.”

A first-half goal from Cyriel Dessers proved enough for Rangers to see off Motherwell 1-0 but the Steelmen did not relinquish their long unbeaten record on the road without a major fight.

Dessers netted against the run of play in the 24th minute when he diverted Rabbi Matondo’s strike past Liam Kelly.

Rangers had chances to extend their lead but there were several anxious moments for the Ibrox support in the latter stages as Oli Shaw and Blair Spittal in particular came close.

There was a smattering of boos from the Rangers fans after the final whistle blew on their 1-0 victory, which sent them above Motherwell into third place, six points behind leaders Celtic.

It was Motherwell’s first cinch Premiership defeat in nine away matches since Stuart Kettlewell took charge in February.

The win came at a cost for Rangers as Matondo went off injured in the first half after twice going down with no-one near him.

Rangers were also missing Tom Lawrence after the attacking midfielder was sent for a scan on the problem that forced him off during Thursday’s Europa League win over Real Betis, joining Danilo, Nico Raskin, Todd Cantwell and Kieron Dowell on the sidelines.

Lawrence’s absence paved the way for Scott Wright to make his first start under Beale while Sam Lammers and Dessers returned.

Motherwell made the brighter start and they had several half-chances to take the lead. Harry Paton and Callum Slattery both curled just wide and Brodie Spencer forced Jack Butland to make a diving save at his near post.

There was another scare for the home team when Lammers diverted a Motherwell free-kick into his own goalmouth but Connor Goldson beat Bevis Mugabi to the ball to head over for a corner.

Rangers scored from their first real effort at goal. Matondo got a chance to shoot from 20 yards and Dessers diverted the ball over Liam Kelly’s dive for his third Rangers goal.

Lammers soon had a shot before Matondo eventually went off. The winger was replaced by centre-back John Souttar as Beale matched up with Motherwell’s formation. Abdallah Sima and Kemar Roofe were more natural replacements on the bench but both had been rested after their exertions in midweek.

Motherwell had a penalty claim in stoppage time when James Tavernier held off Spencer as the wing-back tried to reach Theo Bair’s flick-on but referee Alan Muir played on and there was no delay when the ball went out of play.

Lammers had several chances either side of the break, twice forcing Kelly into saves and volleying wide from Tavernier’s cross.

Spencer was frustrated by another decision from Muir after being penalised as he outmuscled Tavernier to reach a through ball that put him bearing down on Butland.

Kelly denied Dessers and then Lammers as Rangers broke but Motherwell came back into the game after Shaw joined Bair up front. The pair combined for an excellent chance but Butland saved well from the substitute.

Beale handed 16-year-old Bailey Rice, a former Motherwell academy player, his home debut in the 78th minute in a midfield role.

Motherwell came even closer when Spittal played a one-two with Slattery and beat Butland only for Tavernier to clear off the line.

Motherwell had more chances. Shaw’s volley was charged down and Goldson cleared off the line from Spittal, although the flag went up afterwards, and substitute Conor Wilkinson forced two saves.

Borna Barisic revealed Rangers’ Europa League victory over Real Betis had helped raise the spirits of a demoralised dressing room.

Abdallah Sima’s second-half goal ensured Michael Beale’s men got off to a winning start in their group campaign and built on the league victory secured at St Johnstone the previous weekend.

Barisic admitted the mood had been somewhat darker after the derby defeat to Celtic prior to the international break but hoped success in Europe could provide a springboard for better times ahead.

The Croatian defender said: “These two wins are very big, very important. I felt like we were old Rangers I would say. We were in a good way.

“I am very happy, people are happy and the dressing room is happy. It’s a very big victory. We deserved the three points, a very huge three points. Betis are a very good team but we played a good game. The crowd was with us during the game. They gave us energy. It’s a very good start to the group.”

Asked what the mood in the Rangers squad had been like prior to this week, Barisic added: “We have not been happy. We have been very disappointed.

“We felt that we did not play well in some games. We lost the derby game and it was a hard two weeks to be here to train (after that). I wasn’t there but people said to me and I know what that feeling is like.

“Then we went to St Johnstone and won the game and now this game. So that’s why we feel much better now. But this is only one game. We need to continue like this, be positive and try to win all our games.”

Rangers welcome Motherwell to Ibrox on Sunday and Barisic acknowledged the need to keep building momentum.

He added: “This can be a turning point but it always depends on us. It’s an important win but it’s only one game. We just need to continue like this. There are games every three or four days so the schedule is very busy.

“It gives us confidence. This game shows we can compete with very good teams. Betis is a good team who finished sixth last season in the Spanish league and that shows they have quality. They came here as the most expensive team in our group – I cannot say the best – and we took the three points. So it’s the perfect start for the Europa League.”

Rabbi Matondo revealed it was Beale’s half-time team talk that had inspired Rangers’ stirring second-half performance after a flat opening period.

The forward said: “The manager got us going (at half-time). He wasn’t too pleased with certain aspects of our game and we had to up it in the second half and I felt that we did that. We had to dig in at times but ultimately I believe we deserved the win.”

The Welsh international conceded he should have given the team an early lead after he fastened on to Kemar Roofe’s long ball only to shoot straight at Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

He added: “One hundred per cent I should have scored. I think I snatched at it a bit and on another day it would have been a goal. That’s something I’ll look at again and see what I could have done better at the time.”

Michael Beale praised the performance of Jack Butland as Rangers opened their Europa League group stage campaign with a 1-0 home win over Real Betis.

Abdallah Sima was the matchwinner with a second-half strike but Butland ensured the victory with a number of big saves, including two late on from substitute Rodri.

The former England goalkeeper arrived at Ibrox in the summer to succeed Allan McGregor and Beale felt Butland was already proving his worth.

The Rangers manager said: “Jack was taking over from a modern day legend at the club and there were a lot of eyes on him.

“But I’ve known about Jack for a number of years and all he’s had here is an opportunity to play and show his quality.

“It’s still very early in his Rangers career but we’re delighted with him.

“To get him as a free transfer, I think we’ve done very well.

“But it’s only the start of his Rangers career.”

Beale felt his players had been “outstanding” in the second half as they started to dominate the contest.

But he warned they would need to back it up in the league, starting with Sunday’s visit of Motherwell to Ibrox.

He added: “It was a big result and well done to the players.

“We had a couple of big moments in the first half, particularly with Rabbi (Matondo) going clean through.

“We did not settle until after 35 minutes and that is something that has been recurring. In the second half I thought we were outstanding and the goal typified that.

“For everybody else it is just a goal off a set-play but we win four first contacts before the goal. In tight games that is what we need to do more of.

“I knew it would be tough and I told the players that at half-time. I told them to step over the line, to commit to the game fully and not be a seven out of 10.

“In that changing room it is worth it but it is just three points and the focus is now Motherwell.

“We have had a couple of bangs on the head this season and we have heard it loud and clear from the outside.

“We have had two clean sheets since the international break and that is a real positive sign.

“But, nothing is done. It is just one performance.”

Abdallah Sima’s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 victory for Rangers against Real Betis in their opening Europa League group match at Ibrox.

The forward poked home a shot from close range to settle a competitive match between the two of the favourites to progress to the knockout stages.

Michael Beale’s side also struck the frame of the goal twice in a strong second-half display and had goalkeeper Jack Butland to thank for making several key saves, especially in the opening period.

Rangers made four changes from the team that had defeated St Johnstone at the weekend.

There were starting places for Sima, Rabbi Matondo, Jose Cifuentes and Borna Barisic. Out dropped Danilo, Nicolas Raskin, Sam Lammers and Ridvan Yilmaz.

Betis were able to call upon the experience of Claudio Bravo to deputise for first-choice goalkeeper Rui Silva as part of six changes to the team beaten 5-0 by Barcelona at the weekend.

Rangers could have been in front within five minutes. Kemar Roofe’s searching pass sent Matondo running clear but his shot was weak and easily saved by Bravo.

Betis’ response came from a driven effort from Abdessamad Ezzalzouli that Butland did well to save before he pushed away another Ezzalzouli shot from a tight angle.

It was end to end at this point and a rare mis-step from the impressive Isco saw him drag a shot wide after good play by Hector Bellerin down the Betis right.

Ezzalzouli then lashed a shot over the top and saw another effort repelled by Butland as the Spaniards pushed for the lead.

At the other end, Sima could not get enough purchase on his stab at goal before Matondo was wasteful with another attempt before the break.

The Welshman looked to have a great chance early in the second half with Sima’s cross coming his way only for Bellerin to steer it clear for a corner.

Tom Lawrence struck the outside of a post with a long-range effort and Barisic then hit the top of a crossbar from a free-kick just outside the box after Marc Bartra had felled Roofe.

Lammers came on for the injured Lawrence and saw two efforts blocked as Rangers went looking for a winner.

It arrived after 68 minutes, Sima slamming in a loose ball as Betis failed to properly deal with a goalmouth scramble after Bravo made a stunning stop to repel Roofe’s volley.

Betis pushed for a leveller but two big saves from Butland denied substitute Rodri.

Michael Beale believes it is time for Jose Cifuentes to step up after revealing Nicolas Raskin would miss the Europa League opener against Real Betis at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The Gers midfielder picked up a calf injury in the 2-0 cinch Premiership win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.

Raskin joins fellow midfielder Todd Cantwell and Brazilian striker Danilo on the sidelines, the latter having an operation on a fractured cheekbone sustained in scoring the first goal in Perth.

Ecuador international Cifuentes has had an unconvincing beginning to his Gers career after signing from Los Angeles FC in the summer and will vie with Ryan Jack for a midfield berth in the coming weeks.

Gers boss Beale said: “Nico is out until after the international break with a calf problem.

“He took a kick in the game and it has given him a problem. So him, Todd and Danilo are missing.

“I saw Danilo yesterday, he still looks sore if I’m honest. He had successful surgery on the areas, it is not just one area.

“He will be back in non-contact training at the back end of the international break, so ideally he will be back the first week after the October international break, but it might be a couple of weeks after that.

“The reason Cifuentes didn’t play at the weekend is that he didn’t arrive back from South America until the Friday morning where he played at altitude, so he is ready to go and Ryan Jack is there as well so it doesn’t change in us having options.

“He (Jose) came in very late and did some good things in his first couple of games. And then he was away on international duty.

“This is his moment, he has been here for a while now.

“I said recently that the new players have been here long enough now. He was the last one to come in, but I still think he is ready.”

Rangers take on Real Betis in their Europa League opener on Thursday night.

The Light Blues have had a difficult start to the season and are under pressure to turn in a positive performances at Ibrox.

Here is the lowdown on the Gers’ opponents ahead of the Group C encounter.


The Spanish side have started the season in patchy form with just two wins in five La Liga matches to leave them 10th in the table, eight points behind leaders Real Madrid. Real Betis have beaten Villarreal and Rayo Vallecano, drawn against Atletico Madrid and lost to Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. The 5-0 loss to Barca at the weekend could mean confidence has taken a dent but their fans will hope their side can exploit any anxiety at Ibrox. Betis finished sixth last season, 28 points behind Barcelona.


Manuel Pellegrini is one of the most experienced managers in the game. The 70-year-old Chilean has been a boss since 1988 when he took over at Universidad de Chile in his homeland. A globetrotting career has followed and he has been in the  hot seat at clubs like River Plate, Real Madrid, Manchester City and West Ham, among others.  Pellegrini joined Manchester City in 2013 and won the Premier League and League Cup double in his first season, winning the League Cup again in 2015/16. Most recently, he won the Copa del Rey in 2022 with Los Verdiblancos, who he joined in 2020.


There has been a lot of recent speculation around which players Pellegrini will have at his disposal for the trip to Glasgow, with reports suggesting four key players will be back in contention. Former Manchester City and Barcelona keeper Claudio Bravo – aged 40 – is recovering from a calf injury and could make his first start of the season after Portugal goalkeeper Rui Silva had to come off against Barcelona with a thigh injury to be replaced by debutant Fran Vieites, who usually plays for Betis B. Captain and Mexico international Andres Guardado had been missing with an ankle injury but could return along with William Carvalho, who has won 80 caps for Portugal, and right-back Aitor Ruibal. Brazilian striker Willian Jose has scored four of Betis’s five goals this season. Spain internationals Hector Bellerin and Borja Iglesias are also in the Betis squad.

European pedigree

Real Betis have never won a European trophy and have taken part in the Champions League on only one occasion, in 2005/06. Betis finished third behind Liverpool and Chelsea and above Anderlecht in Group G with seven points, dropping down to the UEFA Cup where they were knocked out in the last 16 by Steaua Bucharest. In the 2021/22 season they were drawn in the same group as Celtic in the Europa League, winning 4-3 at home and losing 3-2 at Celtic Park. Last season they were knocked out of the Europa League at the last-16 stage by Manchester United 5-1 on aggregate.

Celtic moved clear at the top of the cinch Premiership while there were also wins for Rangers, St Mirren and Hearts.

Livingston’s bus broke down on the way to Dingwall but they claimed a point while there was also a share of the spoils at Rugby Park.

Here are five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

Rangers suffer Euro blow

Danilo was the most expensive of Rangers’ summer signings but his settling-in period will be prolonged.

He suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone when heading the opener in Saturday’s 2-0 win over St Johnstone following a clash of heads that also saw Saints captain Liam Gordon go off.

The injury came before the Europa League opener against Real Betis at Ibrox on Thursday night and Michael Beale will have to come up with another formula in his ever-changing attack.

Aberdeen are the worst this century

The Dons remain on two points after a 2-0 defeat by Hearts at Tynecastle in their fifth game of the season.

It is their worst start to a campaign since Ebbe Skovdahl lost his first seven league games as manager in 1999.

Aberdeen made 13 summer signings but there is little immediate sign of a return on investment.

The Dons have only won two of their last 13 games since Barry Robson was named permanent manager last season.

No stopping St Mirren

The unbeaten Buddies moved second as Scott Tanser’s cushioned volley proved enough to inflict Motherwell’s first league defeat of the season.

It completed an early-season double over the Lanarkshire side, who crashed out of the Viaplay Cup in Paisley.

Stephen Robinson’s side are unbeaten since the first game of the season, a Viaplay Cup defeat at Montrose.

Mixed feelings for new Hibs head coach

Nick Montgomery was happy with some of his side’s football and no doubt delighted to see them take a two-goal lead at Kilmarnock when Dylan Vente added to a Will Dennis own goal on the hour mark.

But signs of the inconsistency which dogged Montgomery’s predecessor, Lee Johnson, were soon evident as goals from Kyle Vassell and Joe Wright earned Killie a point and denied the new man a debut win.

Celtic introduce some new boys

Nat Phillips was handed a debut from the start as Celtic beat Dundee 3-0, although a minor ankle issue forced him off at half-time.

Three goals early in the second half allowed manager Brendan Rodgers to give some players a rest and he introduced Luis Palma and Paulo Bernardo to the Parkhead faithful while handing Reo Hatate a comeback from injury.

Ben Davies hopes Rangers got back on track with their 2-0 cinch Premiership win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

The 28-year-old defender made his first start of the season on Saturday after recovering from fitness issues dating back to a hamstring complaint picked up against Aberdeen in May.

Brazilian striker Danilo headed the Light Blues ahead after 16 minutes but had to be immediately substituted along with Saints captain Liam Gordon after both men clashed heads, with the Gers player taken to hospital with a fractured cheekbone.

Substitute Rabbi Matondo added a second in the 79th minute and, after damaging defeats to Celtic and PSV Eindhoven before the international break, the Govan side go into the Europa League opener against Real Betis at Ibrox on Thursday night with renewed confidence.

Davies told RangersTV: “It was good to be back, I felt my fitness – lungs wise – was good and I felt quite strong in the game.

“It was my first 90 minutes since before Aberdeen, so it’s been a long time and I was happy to be out there and involved.

“When I realised I was playing, I was just thinking, ‘Solid performance and clean sheet’. So I was happy that we’ve done that.

“I thought we controlled the game really well, limited them to not much at all. We scored two good goals and could have scored more.

“But it’s a step back in the right direction and the start of hopefully a good run.

“The most important game is always the next one and to bounce back from not a great start (to the season) is crucial to do so at the first opportunity and we’ve done that.

“We sent fans home pretty happy and now we can look forward to playing the next game.

“I’m looking forward to Thursday, under the lights at Ibrox is special, so it’s really important that we find a performance.

“I’ve got a few days now recovering until the next game so hopefully make the most of that and then we can go again.”

St Johnstone are bottom of the table with just two points and no wins in five games, but manager Steven MacLean believes there is better to come from his squad.

The former McDiarmid Park striker said: “I always said we will get better as we go on. We have 11 new signings and we are going to improve.

“There is certainly enough to work with. I was concerned at the start of the season, but the group I have got together now. if we keep working hard and improving we will be fine this season.”

Rangers striker Danilo will undergo an operation after sustaining a broken cheekbone when scoring the opener in the 2-0 win over St Johnstone.

The Brazilian headed the Light Blues ahead after 16 minutes of the cinch Premiership match at McDiarmid Park but had to be immediately substituted along with Saints captain Liam Gordon after both men clashed heads in the aerial duel.

Substitute Rabbi Matondo added a second for the visitors in the 79th minute to seal the three points.

Afterwards Michael Beale confirmed the bad news ahead of the Europa League opener against Real Betis at Ibrox on Thursday night.

The Gers boss, pleased with the much-needed win after defeats to Celtic and PSV Eindhoven before the international break, said: “Danilo has fractured his cheekbone so we have to see how long he is out.

“He is away (to hospital) and hopefully he will be operated on this evening.

“I just asked the doctor and he gave me the news which is not great news to receive but you could see from the swelling right away that it was a bad one.

“It is a really disappointing moment for the team.

“Danilo had had a couple of things going on, he took a few weeks to get fit, then he scores.

“After the injury the game got a bit stuffy and in the second half we made more chances than we took.

“The game was scrappy at times, we still have work to do but it was a 2-0 win and it was comfortable.”

Pressure eased on Michael Beale as Rangers hollowed out a 2-0 cinch Premiership win over St Johnstone but the Ibrox side again failed to hit the heights.

The Gers boss was under intense scrutiny following defeats to Celtic and PSV Eindhoven before the international break.

Brazilian striker Danilo headed the Light Blues ahead after 16 minutes at McDiarmid Park but had to be substituted after sustaining a head knock in its execution.

Substitute Rabbi Matondo added a second in the 79th minute but it was another unconvincing Gers performance against a side who are still looking for their first league win this season.

Rangers begin their Europa League campaign with a home game against Real Betis on Thursday night and again the Light Blues boss and his players will be under scrutiny but the victory in Perth was crucial to offer some respite.

Accused of still not yet knowing his best team, Beale made six changes with Ben Davies, Ridvan Yilmaz, John Lundstram, Tom Lawrence, Sam Lammers and Danilo back in the side.

Lawrence was making his first start in over a year after recovering from a serious knee injury while Davies made his first appearance of the season.

Saints boss Steven MacLean gave striker Chris Kane his first start since January 2022 and he was one of four changes with captain Liam Gordon, Oludare Olufunwa and Max Kucheriavyi also coming in.

It was a far from impressive start by the visitors but they took the lead following a break from a St Johnstone corner.

Skipper James Tavernier took a pass from Nicolas Raskin, played a one-two with Lammers and went past Graham Carey with ease before crossing for Danilo to head past keeper Dimitar Mitov from six yards.

Danilo cracked heads with Gordon in the aerial joust and both had to go off with Abdallah Sima and Sam McClelland respectively coming on.

The goal relaxed the Govan side a little.

In the 24th minute Sima burst into the St Johnstone box but opted to drive straight at Mitov from an angle with Lammers and Kemar Roofe waiting to tap in.

Mitov saved Sima’s drive from distance before the break but Rangers looked ropey at the start of the second half.

A short pass-back by Davies to Jack Butland saw Kane nip in before it got to the keeper and he tumbled to the ground but referee Nick Walsh ignored penalty claims and the VAR Gavin Duncan did not ask him to have a look.

Kane went sprawling again after being involved with Lawrence inside the box at a St Johnstone corner moments later and again a VAR check brought no joy for the home side.

Rangers still could not get into a flow.

In the 63rd minute Roofe had the ball in the net from a Sima cut-back but the goal was ruled out for an infringement.

MacLean was then booked at the touchline after complaining that referee Walsh had stopped play for a foul for Saints when his side were ready to break.

Lawrence had a decent drive saved by Mitov before Matondo, on for Lammers, raced on to a Lawrence pass and slipped the ball past Mitov to seal three points.

St Johnstone substitute Cammy MacPherson headed a Carey cross past the post from six yards but the Govan side cruised the final stages although, ultimately, it was another Rangers performance that left more questions than answers.

Tom Lawrence admits Rangers players were wounded by their defeat to Celtic but are determined to get back on track immediately.

The Light Blues received stinging criticism from their own supporters at the end of the 1-0 home defeat to their Old Firm rivals just before the international break, which left them four points behind Brendan Rodgers’ side with boss Michael Beale under pressure.

Ahead of the trip to St Johnstone on Saturday, attacker Lawrence, recently back after a year’s absence due to a knee injury, said: “Everyone was disappointed.

“The whole changing room was really down after the game, there were a few honest conversations.

“We know what it means to the fans. It is always difficult. We know how big those games are.

“It hurts us, it hurts the fans, it hurts everyone to do with the club.

“We know if we don’t get a result in that game it is going to hurt everybody.

“We have to have honest conversations with ourselves in the changing room and that is what we have done. It is the whole group, as a collective.

“I am not going to go into the individuals. But, like I say, it has been spoken about and all we can do is look forward to the next game and deliver in that game.”

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