The major squad rebuild that Rangers will embark on in the coming weeks is taking up a considerable amount of Michael Beale’s time and energy at the present moment.

A raft of signing targets have been identified by scouting staff and as many as a dozen new recruits are set to arrive after the final three cinch Premiership matches are out of the way.

Yet, Beale is by no means oblivious to another player who he has not worked with before who is already in situ at Ibrox and who potentially has much to offer his team next season and beyond.

Tom Lawrence has, due to the Achilles tendon injury which he suffered way back at the end August, not featured since he took over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst as manager in November.

The Welsh internationalist, though, is very much in the Englishman’s thoughts.

Lawrence made an immediate impact after joining Rangers on a free transfer from Derby County last summer, quickly established himself as an automatic first team starter and produced a string of sparkling displays which had supporters singing his praises.

He was certainly influential as Glasgow giants beat their Dutch rivals PSV Eindhoven over two legs to qualify for the Champions League group stages for the first time in 12 years.

Beale believes the 29-year-old has both the ability and the experience – a vital quality which he knows has been sadly lacking in certain areas of his team during this trophyless term - needed to contribute in what he hopes will be a far more successful 2023/24 campaign.

He admitted that he is very much looking forward to the playmaker regaining full fitness and returning to the fray during pre-season.

“Tom will be a really important player for us,” he said. “He is a player I haven’t had and Gio (van Bronckhorst) didn’t have for a long period either. He has been lost.

“It’s been like that. (Filip) Helander was so important to us, (Kemar) Roofe was so important to us. Roofe has played twice since I came back and scored in both games. He’s just not been available.

“We lost key players in my opinion, key athleticism in (Joe) Aribo, (Calvin) Bassey and (Nathan) Patterson. For good money, but we lost key players.

“(Leon) Balogun was a big influence, (Jermain) Defoe was a big influence, Helander, Roofe. We brought Lawrence in to be a big influence.

“He came in as an important signing and experienced member of the squad. He didn’t come in to be a player for the future, he came to be a ‘now’ player.”

Beale added: “Tom started the season ever so well. He was important in the PSV games for example.

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“And then he got a horrific injury. He was on his way back from that and had some complications from that.

“I expect him to be back probably a couple of weeks into pre-season. Either at the same time as everybody else or a couple of weeks behind. But having said that he needs to make up maybe eight or 10 months.

“So we need to clean that up for sure. We need to have our strongest, oldest, most experienced players available more often next year, playing with a bit more consistency and a slightly tighter squad.

“And then we will see where it takes us. The challenges will still be the same, the pressures and the expectations are maybe going to be a little bit higher. It is an exciting time because it’s a time of change and I’m going into it with real optimism.”

Beale has been content for Lawrence to return to Manchester to be close to his nearest and dearest for extended periods while he has been recovering from the operation which he underwent in March and is convinced that has aided his recuperation.

“He moved up here on his own to play for Rangers,” he said. "When you are not playing I think it’s important you have your family around you. So it’s a mixture of being here for what he needs when he’s working and having his support network around him when he needs it.’ 

Beale has, however, gone out of his way to let the sidelined forward know that he is very much part of his long-term plans by requesting his input on team matters during their conversations and discussing what role he will be best suited to in his system when he is available for selection again.

He has sensed how much Lawrence is looking forward to making his comeback of late – and he very much shares his excitement.

“The first thing you do is make him aware that you know him as a player,” he said. “He knows that because we played against each other a lot. But you let him know he is valued and you ask him for an opinion from watching from the outside. 

‘And, as he gets closer to returning, then you start talking about the way we are going to play and where he fits in. I don’t think that was the right thing to do early in his injury. But we have had that discussion in the last couple of weeks because now we are talking about what he is coming back to. 

“You can see that his whole personality is changing now because he is back in rehab and is starting to move in the right direction.”