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While Michael Beale’s players were lying on beaches, let’s hope the Rangers boss also found time to chill. He didn’t of course.

There was too much hanging on the new season for him to chill. Officially he was on holiday but he kept in daily contact with key figures at the club. Finding the right talent for a ferocious campaign ahead took priority over everything else.

The bleak reality is simple for the likeable Londoner - he can’t go through another season with no silverware nestling in the Ibrox trophy room. If he does it will cost him his job.

There were valid reasons, not excuses, for last term’s barren conclusion. The main one being the extraordinary list of injuries. More than a dozen key players didn’t miss just five or six games. All had lengthy absences - from months to the full season. That would have grievously hurt any side.

And the club’s most valued assets, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, lost the form, or the will, that had made them first picks.

When the manager arrived in December the league race was all but over and he asked his players to at least match Celtic’s points tally in the remaining games. Despite the injury setbacks they surpassed that with the final gap down to seven.

As a bonus, Beale’s first signings Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin quickly became fans’ favourites.

In the Old Firm matches, Rangers were the better team in the last three of the six battles albeit they only prevailed in the final one. The fabled gap clearly wasn’t as wide as some pundits insisted.

This ensured Beale would be staying in post - with the full backing of every Bear.

However, there will be no mitigating circumstance imaginable that could save him if there’s another year of Celtic dominance. None.

Fans would demand change. As would new Ibrox supremo John Bennett who has shown he’s ruthless when needs must. He didn’t hang around making changes. Behind the scenes, he launched a silent revolution with the chairman, managing director and director of football leaving, willingly or not, along with other key staff.

Take that as a warning for anyone not meeting his stringent standards.

He’s risen from a humble background working in local banks to running investment portfolios worth £7.5billion - and his upbringing meant he didn’t get a leg-up from an old boys’ network. He succeeded by refusing to see failure as an option. That has made him wealthy and able to help the team he grew up supporting.

His £10million loan to the club announced at the last AGM took his personal commitment so far to £23million. He’s put his money where his mouth is - and then some His unyielding focus now is on Rangers winning a 56th title - and he won’t accept defeat.

Beale knows this. That’s why he’s been working flat out during his break. It’s a defining season that will determine his managerial future. If he gets it right it will put him on track for a lengthy career at the top end of the game. If he doesn’t, he’ll struggle to get another big club. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Across the city, Celtic took Brendan Rodgers back. The fans who pilloried him for fleeing mid-season to Leicester in 2019 reluctantly accepted the prodigal son’s return.

Parkhead boss Dermot Desmond went out on a limb to get Rodgers so he’ll ensure his man has a big budget to succeed. If he doesn’t it will reflect badly on both of them.

This, then, is shaping up to be the most explosive campaign in a generation.

The gap in Scotland between the Old Firm and the rest last term was cavernous but is even bigger now. Both sides have tooled up heavily for a bruising season and every match will be played at full throttle. Nothing can be left to chance. They must blow the others away then hope for glory in the games against each other - where the title will be decided.

Celtic and Rangers can’t afford to drop points anywhere - even a couple of draws could be fatal. It’s hard to see them dropping any, other than in their head-to-heads.

On paper, the Rangers manager has more to do than Rodgers who is inheriting a Treble-winning team and a lavish budget to add more signings.

But there are reasons to be optimistic that Beale will succeed. He’s shown courage to change his side radically and go for broke. The new boys are his picks - they’re not project players for some distant date when they’re ready. They have to turn up now. That’s why he got most of them in early enough for a full pre-season.

Behind the friendly facade, Beale has a vision of how he wants his team to play and will drive himself mercilessly to make it happen. He must ensure the new boys settle and know what’s required when you pull on that famous blue jersey.

However, there’s always a niggling doubt over the unknown. Will the chemistry among this new squad be right? Can they gel? Players are not automatons. They have strengths and weaknesses, personalities that have to be moulded for the common cause.

But it has to come good for the manager. He’s been given the backing from everyone at the club and the funds to get it right. Any failure will be on him alone. It’s a heavy load.

The pressure will ramp up with every game but Beale insists he’s excited by the new era and will embrace the challenge rather than fear it. He has the coaching nous, a meticulous grasp of detail and the tenacity to prosper.

Equally, there will be the same pressure on Celtic. Rodgers knows the first poor result for his side will be met with uneasiness about the appointment.

Those who detested him then welcomed him back will have no hesitation in doing another U-turn. That hasty exit used up the credit from his last spell at the club. This is a period of atonement for him and he also must deliver.

Expect a season for the ages that thunders from start to finish. Two managers with their futures on the line. Two chairmen breathing down their necks. The rivalry going to another level.

Football’s gods have aligned to create a perfect storm.

Prepare for an incendiary campaign. And those of a nervous disposition should look away.