This piece is an extract from yesterday's Rangers Insider newsletter, which is emailed out at 5pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Rangers Review team.

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Cast your mind back to December 15th of last year.

Michael Beale’s about to manage his first game at Rangers without any fit centre-backs, inheriting an injury crisis that also ruled Antonio Colak out of the meeting with Hibs.

Fashion Sakala, a surprise inclusion, took his place instead, scored and hasn’t really looked back since.

Beale made it clear early on in his managerial reign that he wanted to play with two goalscorers. That’s not to say his side will always feature a recognisable front two, although that has been the case at points, but generally, they’ll have two players with a prime responsibility of hitting the net in each team selection.

Beale regards Sakala as a No.9. Capable of providing the necessary final third numbers on top of good work done behind him.

It’s important to remember the current manager was part of the coaching staff that brought Sakala to Scotland in the summer of 2021. It was a move in line with the tactical evolution towards a front two witnessed at the end of the last title-winning campaign.

It was the inclusion of an extra goalscorer in the front three that helped tip the balance in league competition for this side. Sakala’s differing, direct profile was recruited to offer an alternative take on Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe’s front pairing. 

He has 12 goal involvements, six goals and six assists, in 16 starts and two substitute appearances under the new manager. That included a second-half header to send Rangers on their way last weekend against Motherwell.

Sakala may have struggled in the first 45, with the ball bouncing off him more than it stuck. But possessing that unique knack of scoring goals regardless of overall performance levels, especially on the road, the forward always quickly reminds you why he’s been included in the starting 11.

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The 26-year-old has nine goal involvements in eight league away trips alone. It’s on the road that Sakala’s truly come into his own and helped Rangers win each one of those matches.

Playing at home he remains a goal-threat but lacks the space his style of play thrives upon. The forward will never be a player who spins on a sixpence and opens up packed defences but has quickly become something Rangers have lacked on the road in domestic competition for a number of years. A quick, pacey attacker capable of totalling up numbers consistently. Turning prospective points into sure victories.

“He was a striker when we signed him and he's been shifted out wide at different times,” Beale said speaking about Sakala following a 4-1 win over Hibs at Easter Road.

"The system suits him at the moment. Certainly away from home when teams come after us and it opens up space. Every game he gets the chance to score or assist. He doesn't always get them but he is working away and on nights like tonight at times he was unplayable with his speed and direct play."

Look at Sakala's numbers in the Premiership under Beale. Blue represents away matches and red home matches.

There are two main takeaways from this graphic.

Firstly, Sakala has a higher expected and actual goal return in games away from Ibrox.

Secondly, his creative numbers (xG Assisted) go through the roof away from home.

Beale plays his forwards in narrow positions, regardless of the side’s overall composition, and this helps explain why Sakala is posing such a creative threat alongside his own strikes.

He isn’t pinned to the touchline, but running right at the heart of the opposition's defence whenever they push forwards. 

Think of his cutback for Antonio Colak against Hibs at Easter Road, his cross that led to Todd Cantwell’s strike against Motherwell or Alfredo Morelos’ second at Tynecastle and first at Rugby Park.

It’s Sakala’s goals that have caught the eye and rightly so. Although it’s obvious to suggest that more goalscorers in any team equates to a greater number of points, this isn’t something Rangers have always boasted in the last 18 months.

Sakala has imperfections but the raw numbers show his contribution is outweighing any drawbacks. It’s just taken the Zambian a return to the style he was recruited for to show his best face.