Season 2022/23 will be quickly forgotten in Rangers circles.

After finally returning to the Champions League following a momentous two-legged win against PSV, things looked bright. Instead, a dismal group stage, injury crisis to top all seen previously and managerialĀ change would soon follow. A nine-point gap in November made any hope of a title chargeĀ impossible following Michael Bealeā€™s subsequent arrival.

The biggest indicator of the change deemed necessaryĀ in response can be found in the movement thatā€™s occurred off the pitch. A new management staff, Chairman and CEO are all in place, with successors in the Sporting Director and Head of Academy rolesĀ still to come.

Beale didnā€™t end the season with any silverware but has done enough to build optimism. His team have quickly adopted a recognisable style and adopted a winning habit. When that's abandoned them in Old Firm matches, Beale's lack of options up top has generally been unanimously agreed upon asĀ mitigation.Ā 

The task overĀ summer is to build on the promising developmentsĀ witnessed with a new squad of his players brought into the building.

A look at some of the team-wide statistics from before and after Beale'sĀ appointment suggests foundations are being built for a more successful 2023/24 campaign.Ā 

xG indicators

xG doesnā€™t tell the whole story, not that itā€™s designed to do so. However, it offers a helpful indicator as to the qualityĀ of chance a team is scoring and conceding. And since Bealeā€™s arrival, while Rangersā€™ underlying numbers have remained similar on the surface, there are encouraging signs when digging deeper.

Before the managerā€™s arrival the sideā€™s xG difference, xG created minusĀ xGĀ conceded, stood at 1.28, comfortably behind Celticā€™s 1.97.

From a 3-2 win over Hibs up until Saturdayā€™s final game of the season against St Mirren, that number dropped one point to 1.27 but crucially, only 0.01 behind Celtic.

Beale was tasked with navigating three league Old Firms compared to justĀ one before his arrival and a number of tricky away matches.

READ MORE:Ā Michael Beale's new Rangers tactic and what it means heading into summer

Rangers were creating 1.87xG per 90 to Celticā€™s 2.47 under Van Bronckhorst. Under Beale, xG rose to 2.0Ā ahead of Celtic's 1.83.

Their xG conceded did rise from 0.59 to 0.73. Again, the greater number of matches against top six opponents offers some explanation as to why this number has increased, with Hibs away the only notable trip aside from a humbling Old Firm defeat under Van Bronckhorst in his 15 league games at the start of the season.

Set-piece swing

Under Beale and first-team coach Harry Watling, Rangersā€™ attacking set-pieces have been transformed. As detailed in greater detail previously by the Rangers Review new principles, greater variation and an upturn in inswingers have all contributed towards the side comfortably becoming the most effective set-piece utilisers in the division. Having been anything but previously.

Before Bealeā€™s arrival Rangers had the third-highest Set-Piece xG per 90 at 0.3 and the fourth-highest Set-piece Goals per 90 at 0.33. Their average xG from corners stood at 0.2.

In the second half of the season under Beale RangersĀ topped the Set-Piece xG table with 0.48 per 90, averaging a hugely impressive 0.7 Set-Piece Goals per 90. Their average xG from corners doubled to 0.4.

Off-ball upturn

PPDA is a common statistic to measure the intensity of a teamā€™s press, judging the number of passes allowedĀ before a team attemptsĀ a defensive action.

Rangersā€™ PPDA has actually fallen under Beale from 5.54 to 7.05. Does that mean theyā€™ve been ā€˜less intenseā€™ off the ball? Not necessarily.

Bealeā€™s Rangers press in triggers, waiting for the opposition to enter one of their traps before committing to winning the ball. Their narrower shape out of possession, compared to Van Bronckhorstā€™s man-orientated approach, has provenĀ far more resolute and threatening of high turnovers. A 4-1 win away at Hibs was perhaps the best example witnessed of this to date.

Pressures per 90 under Beale have risen from 101 to 125 and counterpressures, an attempt to regain possession within five seconds of the ball being turned over, from 26 to 33. Pressures in the opposition half have also jumpedĀ from 54 to 64.

Beale didn't end the season with the silverware he'd have desired when stepping back into the club late last year.

That shouldn't be confused with a poor job so far, however. The underlying numbers show a transition of style and improvement in key areas, before the summer rebuild really gets going.Ā