Sitting in the post-match vortex of thoughts that always accompanies an Old Firm game, it was impossible to miss how much of what transpired was predicted by Michael Beale in the days and weeks preceeding it.

Try players 'getting closer' to Celtic, the importance of 'both boxes' and how the future of his out-of-contract stars will be shaped by performance as a starter for 10. After a second defeat in succession, it's no surprise fan chatter has turned again to the future of this squad.

In February, the Ibrox boss said: "If players really show up well in the last 14 or 15 games and we’re in one cup final and hopefully in another and if the players play well there the fans will be desperate for them. If between now and the end of the season the form drops off and we have some difficult days then the fans and the club might have to look in a different direction.

"So everything is up in the air so my job is to get us in a healthier position than we found ourselves in November. We’ve done that but everything has to be decided. We’re back where we should have been now we have to go deliver for the fans."

The key players whose contracts are ending include; Scott Arfield, Steven Davis, Fil Helander, Ryan Jack, Allan McGregor, Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos. With the exception of Jack, very few Rangers fans seem to be amassing behind the retention of any of the remaining names. While the likes of McGregor, Arfield and Davis might offer some dressing room continuity and experience, another Old Firm defeat only reinforces the demand for a new broom. While you never want to put the baby out with the bathwater, some ruthlessness will be required. Connor Goldson and James Tavernier are still in the dressing room for the long term after all.

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With Kent and Morelos, it would have been unthinkable to consider letting such a valuable pair walk out the door for nothing a year ago but now seems inevitable with the Colombian and likely with the winger. The manager is keen on keeping his former Liverpool protege at the club and he may yet pull a Connor Goldson-style volte-face just as the revolving door looks to propel his backside onto Edmiston Drive. Kent loves life in Glasgow but he does have other offers and will be 27 in November. If he's to become a Premier League player, as everyone aspires to these days, time is running out and he may never be in such a firm negotiating position.  

Morelos is a more clear cut matter. While nothing can ever fully be ruled out in football, it seems near certain the club's former striking talisman is in his final knockings in light blue. That he will likely end up in a league like Turkey, the MLS or Mexico is the perfect measure of his own downward trajectory from the majesty of 2019 when he looked destined for an elite club in a top-five league. That version of Morelos would be prized by all and sundry, but the sad reality is that player has been mostly replaced by a dull facsimile in the domestic encounters he clearly finds it difficult to get animated for. That lack of professionalism has now created an extended malaise that has extended across all competitions. It's hard to remember the last barnstorming, bull in a china shop Morelos performance akin to the night he bulled Pepe.

It's time for a change, of that there can be no doubt. Morelos will leave a hero for what he's achieved but if leagues are to be won, you need a striker who hits 25 league goals reliably, not 15. 

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Each of these players is on a significant wage so their departure would clear the decks for a changing of the Ibrox guard. This is something which the manager admits opens some doors as well as closing others:  "It's a moment where there are a lot of players out of contract and therefore there are a lot of salaries coming back in. If we weren't to renew with some of the players, it which gives the club a lot of options this summer."

Beale and Ross Wilson will be well aware of the importance of the Bosman market in finding value and they've already shown in the past with Fashion Sakala and John Lundstram it can be used to good effect. At QPR in the summer window, Beale brought in nine signings without spending a penny, four who were out of contract and five on loan. You'd have to imagine that of the players being quietly sought in the background, several will arrive without a transfer fee.

In defeat, it's reassuring to know the manager has a handle on exactly where things are going wrong and that should provide more confidence Rangers have the man to fix the squad's issues. It's important to remember these problems have been inherited from Giovanni van Bronckhorst and are not of Beale's making.

Looking back at the match without the emotion of the live experience showed many positives. Rangers got joy from the raised intensity. Todd Cantwell and Nico Raskin looked in their element. Celtic didn't create much with just 0.60xG and two of the three goals they scored were inexplicable gifts. That said, Rangers weren't exactly bursting with creative vigour themselves hitting only 0.87, suffered said bomb scare moments and failed to make the most of promising situations at key points.

READ MORE: The Michael Beale Rangers prediction that Celtic defeat proved correct

Regardless, after three games against the league leaders, Beale will now have a full handle on what he needs in the summer to match Postecoglou's machine. After the game, he struck the right note between acknowledging refereeing errors, highlighting progress and hinting towards changes in the future.

The manager has been put in an impossible situation in many ways, having to keep the players sweet enough to perform while subtly signalling to fans that an overhaul is indeed coming. It's a balance he's largely pulled off with aplomb but even an operator as skilled as he can't overcome a coach with Postecoglou's meticulous attention to shape and detail without the tools required. Through good recruitment and excellent coaching, Celtic have stolen a march. To begin to address this reality, you must first acknowledge a gap exists.

And indeed, to his credit after the game, Beale cut a very frank tone about the need for change: "I need to see the intensity from our players raise consistently and that might mean that some in the squad won't see their futures here. That's fine. And we'll go and build a stronger Rangers moving forward."

But while Beale has got so much right in his short tenure, he also hints at an acceptance he got one thing wrong. In the aftermath of the League Cup final, he tried to reframe the summer development of his squad as less than extensive, saying: "Revamp is a better word than rebuild." Following a second painful defeat in a row, Beale will surely now privately accept that to regain the title, this side doesn't need a retouch or a revamp. It must face a rebuild.