Every game is a big game, every fixture is a must-win. Yet some are naturally and obviously more significant – both emotionally and practically – than others at a club where success is rightly demanded as well as expected.

Quite simply, a Rangers manager that cannot win those matches, one that cannot beat Celtic, is no use at Ibrox. Right now, that is the most damning indictment on Michael Beale’s charge sheet.

If he was to be sentenced in the court of public opinion, the verdict would only be going one way. The furious, fever-pitch reaction at Ibrox on Sunday afternoon makes that clear.

Rangers have been through darker times and more difficult moments than that lamentable 90 minutes. Indeed, there have been worse managers in the dugout and a far lower calibre of player on the park.

Yet the visceral way in which Beale’s side were booed and heckled spoke volumes and perhaps encapsulates just how scunnered fans are with such abject showings, with the same mistakes from familiar faces and – even at this stage – the return on the investment. For all the talk of refreshes and rebuilds, Rangers have taken as more steps back than strides forward so far this season.

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Sunday was an afternoon where Rangers looked disjointed, like a team of individuals rather than a coherent side. The contrast to the 55 season, and other derbies during Beale’s time under Steven Gerrard, was stark and there was no control, no cutting edge to a group that has been expensively assembled and that has failed to convince those that pay their wages.

Once you lose the support of the support, there is no way back. Beale will hope that the international break allows time for heads to cool and noise levels to drop but the Englishman now stands on the precipice when it comes to the rank-and-file fans.

When you reach the point when the future of a manager is already up for debate and thoughts are turning to a potential successor, it could be argued that it is too late and that the game is up.

Beale won’t believe that to be the case, but he needs to turn things around quickly if he is to achieve what he set out to this season.

Two of the targets in the first stage of the term have been missed. Premiership wins over Livingston and Ross County and a League Cup victory at home to Morton are the thinnest of silver linings, and losing to PSV Eindhoven and Celtic have seen the dark clouds gather over Beale’s head.

There have been periods of his tenure where the ends have justified the means, where the results have overshadowed the performances. In certain circumstances, that can be accepted and the ability to tick off the wins against sides that are below you in the Premiership is a perquisite of any Ibrox boss.

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So, though, is being able to beat the one team that is above you. As it stands, many will be pondering whether Beale’s side can achieve that feat over 90 minutes that really matter, never mind over the course of a title race.

Beale now has four defeats, one win and one draw from his six Old Firm fixtures. These matches are defined as the ‘big games’ by Press, pundits and punters and Beale’s record in them leaves him facing a barrage of questions and criticism.

A clash with Celtic can never be written off as meaningless but the derby that Beale emerged victorious in was as close as it comes in Old Firm life. The 3-0 victory in May came after successive defeats at Hampden as Ange Postecoglou’s side took strides towards the treble.

Beale can be forgiven for not winning the Premiership title last term given the situation that he inherited when he replaced Giovanni van Bronckhorst. But no excuses can be offered for failing to land one of the cups that were on offer as Rangers were futile in their attempts to stop Celtic easing to all three trophies.

It was in the aftermath of the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat that Beale promised ‘the biggest rebuild in years’. As sore as that afternoon was, supporters were soothed by the prospect of fresh faces, a renewed energy and a change in the Old Firm balance of power in the months that followed.

That hope has quickly evaporated. Losing to Kilmarnock was one thing, but being humiliated by PSV and then beaten by an understrength Celtic are blows that simply cannot be accepted.

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The deficit to Celtic stands at four points after as many matches. Having won just one derby in half a dozen, it could be argued that Beale must now take seven points from the next three in the Premiership if his side are to have any chance of lifting the trophy this term.

The Old Firm fixtures could well decide the title given the disparity between the big two and the rest of the league. Rangers finished 35 points clear of Aberdeen last season as Celtic fell just short of a century and those margins are not out of the question this time around.

It is why results like the one on the opening day of the campaign are greeted with such anger and disbelief. That is the kind of outcome that cost Rangers during Beale’s first stint at Ibrox and he will know that his side have to be all-but point perfect before the next derby on December 30.

That loss at Rugby Park could be described as an anomaly on Beale’s record. He showed last term that he was capable of putting together sustained winning runs and emerging victorious at Pittodrie, Tynecastle and Easter Road were notable achievements at the time.

They meant little in terms of the bigger picture, though. The chance to ask questions of Postecoglou’s side – to change the narrative and put doubts in the mind – was blown when the New Year derby wasn’t won at Ibrox and the title was gone in April when Rangers lost at Parkhead.

Those results didn’t provoke the same reaction as Beale’s fourth derby defeat. Fans were right to believe that better was to come after the sums – which has been muted at a net spend of around £5million - that were spent over the summer but it was a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same at Ibrox.

If Beale can’t alter that record, he will be done as Rangers manager. Ultimately, and as is the way at Ibrox, he will get little praise for taking care of the mundane business in the Premiership and his future now rests on the matches that fall into the ‘big game’ category at home and abroad.

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The woeful nature of the exit to PSV will only begin to be forgiven if Rangers are impressive performers in their Europa League section against Real Betis, Aris Limassol and Sparta Prague. Domestically, the League Cup simply must be lifted.

Beale has painted himself into a corner. This is his team, these are his signings and the style, the substance and the selections rest on his head after being given full autonomy over Rangers in recent months.

His future now rests in the application and ability of those that he trusts with a shirt and in the patience and understanding of the board that must see a return on their investment this term.

A big club comes with big expectations. Now Rangers must win the big games if Beale is to avoid becoming the latest boss to pay the ultimate price at Ibrox.