The international break has given Michael Beale a chance to reflect on where it has gone wrong for Rangers and to formulate a course of action to turn around their campaign. That blueprint will either see him keep his job or lose it at Ibrox.

The Englishman has been fully cognisant of the noise levels around himself and his team following the defeat to Celtic, which came on the back of a Champions League embarrassment in Eindhoven.

Beale has already lost the backing of sections of the support. Others remain fully invested in him as a manager, while there will be many who are in the grey area in the middle.

Their views will be formed over the course of a defining run of fixtures. It is one that begins with a Premiership fixture away to St Johnstone but the 90 minutes itself wasn’t exactly given headline billing as Beale conducted his pre-match press conference first thing on Friday morning.

His position and discussions with the board

The subject of Beale’s future has been the main topic of discussion throughout the last fortnight. Each rumour that has done the rounds has been dismissed as quickly as it has gained traction amongst supporters and Beale was calm and unperturbed as he outlined his dealings with those above him at Ibrox.

He speaks to James Bisgrove ‘every day’ and chairman John Bennett, and members of his board, at least ‘two or three times a week as normal’ and he described his relationships with the chief executive and chairman as ‘extremely close’. It has, he admitted, been a time of ‘reflection’.

Asked if he had been given any assurances over his job, Beale was to the point when he insisted that he did not need any and that he was ‘part of a plan in terms of where we are going as a club.’

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Such answers were perhaps obvious and it would have been a surprise had Beale said anything else. He did not seek to shift the blame but the search for positives – in terms of shots on target and shots conceded – is ultimately futile when the only statistic that really matters shows his side sitting four points adrift of Celtic in the title race.

“This year it is all about picking up silverware,” Beale said. “It is very early into the season, and there has been a lot of change around me in my time as manager here, probably from February or March, at the club and in terms of the playing staff. We have not started the season as we would have wanted but ultimately there is a lot of football to be played and you can just play the game in front of you.”

The reaction of the supporters

It was ‘loud and clear’ in the aftermath of the Old Firm defeat. Beale does not have his head in the sand in that regard and he will be as aware as anyone of the levels of acrimony amongst the fans right now.

He admitted that it was ‘quite natural’ for that to be the case given the results and performances that have been produced this season as the ‘excitement and expectation’ coming into the campaign have 'not been fulfilled’ in the defeats to Kilmarnock and Celtic and wins over Livingston and Ross County.

Beale has not been taken aback by the comments and the criticisms in recent days. He has not discussed the furore directly with his players but he was clear that his side are sharing the feelings of the fans at present.

“If they think the players aren’t then that’s foolish of them,” Beale said. “Because the players also live and breathe it every day and there’s been some really honest words been said in-house that will remain between us as a group. But the talking needs to be done on the football pitch now.”

How to transform Rangers’ fortunes

Those final words of that answer are at the heart of where Rangers are and where they must head over the coming weeks that will see them play in three competitions. Losing further ground in the Premiership – with matches at home to Motherwell and Aberdeen and away to St Mirren to come – is unthinkable for Beale, as is a defeat to Livingston in the Viaplay Cup.

The summer recruits have, as Beale put it, felt ‘the heat in Glasgow’ and the onus is now on them to deliver on the pitch. The ‘response’ must begin at McDiarmid Park.

“I think the team needs to win games of football,” Beale, who also faces Europa League fixtures with Real Betis and Aris Limassol, said before the next hiatus for international business. “We have a good opportunity to do that in front of us right now and the team needs to show rhythm in the way we are playing, and the new players need to show they are settled.

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“They have had a long time now, we have probably had over 40 sessions on the pitch, nine games and four or five pre-season games. The players arrived at different times but there is no excuse about it being a new team.”

Beale pointed to Rangers being able to win a lot of games last season but the lack of silverware offset that, as it should at Ibrox. A sustained run of success is now the only way for the manager and his players to earn the support of the support.

Choosing a Europa League squad

Rangers submitted their list for the Group C encounters with Betis, Aris and Sparta Prague on September 4 and Beale outlined his reasons for making certain decisions. As ever at Ibrox, every call will be assessed and analysed and the choices will never be universally popular, with Beale admitting that ‘I can't say they're all over the moon but they understood’ as he referenced those who will watch on from the stands.

Jon McLaughlin was a natural omission and Leon Balogun will not be required due to the return of Ben Davies and Beale’s faith in Leon King.

The most surprising exclusion was left-back Ridvan Yilmaz but a lack of gametime ultimately cost him his place in the group.

“It came down to Dujon, Tav, Adam Devine and Borna and Ridvan who'd played 20 minutes all season up until I made that call,” Beale said. “Ridvan is a player I like, I think he has a bright future at the club, he ended last season ever so well but he's not been able to knock out the games.”

There was also no place for Kieran Dowell. A knee injury will sideline him in the coming days and a chance was taken that Todd Cantwell will return to action sooner than his former Norwich City team-mate.

The double injury blow in midfield

There was a sense that it never rains but it pours for Beale as he confirmed that Cantwell had joined Dowell in the treatment room after sustaining a knee injury in the Old Firm defeat.

Dowell has had a ‘strange reaction' in his knee but he has resumed jogging at Auchenhowie. The summer recruit is still ‘three or four weeks away’.

Dowell’s continued absence has compounded the loss of Cantwell and it leaves Rangers short of guile in the middle of the park. Even when not at his best, Cantwell is a man that others turn to for inspiration and he would have been an integral figure during this hugely significant run.

Beale feared the initial diagnosis would be ‘worse than it is’ and the only positive is that Cantwell is a couple of weeks through his recovery.

READ MORE: The inside story of Rangers' summer transfer window

In his absence, Beale will need the likes of Tom Lawrence to come to the fore. The Welshman has earned minutes against Ross County and Celtic after a year out and possesses the energy and eye for goal that Rangers have lacked this term.

“If you don’t like pressure, this isn’t the club for you,” Lawrence said. “You have to thrive off that pressure. That is something, being a year out, that I have missed so much.

“You can’t find that anywhere else. Getting on that pitch in front of the fans and I can’t wait to get back doing it week in week out.”