Michael Beale bullish over Rangers’ second leg hopes as PSV boss left with 'mixed feelings' after Ibrox draw

Rangers manager Michael Beale applauds at full time after the 2-2 draw with PSV. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Rangers manager Michael Beale applauds at full time after the 2-2 draw with PSV. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

As with the play-off for the group stages between the teams last season, Rangers fought out a 2-2 draw in a home first leg. And the Englishman believes anyone writing off the prospect of the Ibrox side again seeing off their opponents with victory in the Philips Stadion - where Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side secured a 1-0 win - could be left with egg on their face.

The Englishman was irritated his men will not take a lead into the decider, after a Luuk de Jong header direct from a corner in the 76th minute restored parity only four minutes after Rabbi Matondo had put them 2-1 ahead. But he does not see that fact as decisive, and downplayed PSV having almost 70 per cent possession in Glasgow.

Asked if lightning can strike twice next week, Beale said: “I think so, yes, of course. Naturally we will go across and be extremely positive. I don’t want anybody to underestimate us next week because it’s in this club to go put this performance on. We’ll have our thousands of fans travelling over there and as a team we’re going there to get this job done. It’s a cup final and I think my group of players as a new team need nights like tonight.

“There were moments when I thought we were very good. I thought we scored two good goals and all night we caused them problems defensively. There were areas of the game we’d want to improve on, for sure. But everything is to play for. We wanted to set up next week and we’ve done that.

“We never had the game fully under control because at this level, against this level of opponent, it’s hard to do that. But with 10 or 12 minutes to go we had the result under control so we’re super disappointed we conceded from a set play. Jack Butland had a good game without having to make big saves. Then we had a massive opportunity after they scored for us to win the game.”

Seven of the Dutch starters played at Ibrox 12 months ago, but Beale chose to deflect when asked if they may have scar tissue over what happened in the return then. “I think the tie is evenly set. I don’t think them and their coach are travelling home thinking ‘this is a job done’. They will know how hard physically that game was, at the end it looked like they had one or two bumps and bruises as well. It is finely-tuned. I think the two penalty boxes are going to be decisive. It’s important you play well between them but the most important thing is you take your chances when they come. For my team the few chances we got tonight I was much more pleased compared to the domestic form where we are creating a lot more and being wasteful. I thought the two goals we scored tonight were excellent.”

PSV manager Peter Bosz has no fears over suffering as his predecessor Ruud van Nistelroy did in 2022, though.

“I am never afraid of anything. I always think ‘go for it’,” he said. “Even if I was there last season, my mentality would be that this season we are going to make it. I always believe in my team. I felt we would be dominate here and they would play the counter attack real well and really fast. That is how they scored their second goal. They had the energy of the crowd. In the end I have mixed feelings. We have to play a lot better in the return or we will not make it through. What do we need to do? Score more goals and don’t let stupid goals go in against us.”