The results were unacceptable and Michael Beale’s position was untenable. The anger had reached a crescendo and Rangers stood on the precipice of apathy.

In many ways, that is even worse. The frustration and disappointment of performances or league placings can be analysed and addressed but when supporters start voting with their feet rather than just making their feelings clear in a chorus of boos, that is when the problems really begin. That scenario has been avoided, but only just.

By removing Beale and his staff – Neil Banfield, Harry Watling, Damian Matthew and Jack Ade – from their positions on Sunday evening, Rangers have taken a small step back from the brink. None of the quintet could have any complaints.

Beale had been a dead man walking since the defeats to PSV Eindhoven and Celtic last month. The situation was unsustainable and the wins over St Johnstone, Real Betis, Motherwell and Livingston merely delayed the inevitable as everyone – from the boardroom to the dressing room – waited on the one result that would tip Beale over the edge. Anyone who couldn't see this coming was looking at the situation through blind loyalty and a support who have witnessed this chain of events all too often in recent seasons could only hope that more self-inflicted damage wasn't sustained in the process.

The reaction, both in the stands and in the media room, to the victory against Motherwell was telling. Supporters left Beale and his players in no doubt what they thought of a narrow win that was secured courtesy of a deflected Cyriel Dessers effort that owed more to fortune than it did skill.

READ MORE: We backed Beale but he failed, the board MUST get next appointment right - 4Lads

Beale cut a frustrated, downbeat figure in his post-match press conference. It was perhaps an afternoon when it dawned on the Englishman that he was in a set of circumstances that he could no longer control and that the end would come sooner rather than later.

“On Thursday night we come off over the moon with the second half and the way we played against a better team than we played today,” he said on an afternoon when the mood in the camp was as contrasting as the showing produced against Betis just days beforehand. “I say that with all respect, it’s not my view that Betis are a better team than Motherwell – it would be everybody’s view. 

“So I can’t understand why, at 10 o’clock Thursday you walk off the pitch with that feeling after playing that way. And then turning in the performance we did today. That’s my question to the group and to me and my staff. That performance today wasn’t good enough, but I don’t want to go down that road.”

Unfortunately for Beale, Rangers had been heading down a dead end since the first weekend of the campaign. The defeat at Kilmarnock felt like a balloon being burst as all the optimism surrounding his new recruits and a potential title challenge was lost in one abject 90 minutes. Rangers never recovered.

Few plaudits were given out for low-key Premiership wins that raised more questions than they provided answers. After the losses to PSV and Celtic, the queries that were most relevant concerned Beale’s eye for a player and his position as Rangers saw little return for their expenditure.

Many had made their minds up on Beale already. The pressure on him did not just build on social media and internet message boards, it was formed and sustained amongst the match-going punters who were witnessing the regression first hand. After all the talk and all the cash, the fact that a conversation can even be held over whether Rangers have improved at all under Beale is damning.

He assembled a squad to suit a style that was neither pretty nor effective. Rangers have been unimaginative and lacklustre throughout the campaign and it was increasingly hard to fathom just what Beale was attempting to do with a side that was built in his name and his image.

Being able to win ugly can be a mark of champions, but only when there is a history on your side and the promise of a brighter future. Rangers had neither under Beale and such sub-standard showings were always going to catch up with them at some stage. In the end, that happened before Beale had another chance to address the issues that plagued his side as the old faces failed to hit the heights of previous seasons and the new arrivals, with the exception of Jack Butland, struggled to justify their places to a support that have a notoriously short fuse.

Just like Giovanni van Bronckhorst before him, an upcoming international break offered a potential sanctuary for a manager who was in a situation that snowballed out of control. As Beale admitted in the aftermath of the defeat to Aberdeen on Saturday, it had escalated "much faster" than he had thought.

When asked if he believed he would be given time to transform the fortunes of an expensively assembled but underperforming side, he stated that it was "someone else’s decision". Chairman John Bennett and his board were left with no option but to sack him.

For so long, it had been a matter of when rather than if. It was all about the timing and whether the Beale era would come to an end on Sunday or Monday. Prolonging it any further would have been a dereliction of duty from the board and would have risked further disruption to preparations for the Europa League fixture against Aris Limassol on Thursday night and Sunday’s Premiership tie with St Mirren.

As one observer of the situation put it on Sunday afternoon, if there is silence from the club that usually means that there is something happening. A day of calls and emails, WhatsApp and text messages proved fruitless until a flurry of activity shortly after 8pm. Beale was gone.

His players, those that he inherited and those that he recruited, had been informed shortly beforehand in a Zoom call. It was confirmed that Steven Davis and Alex Rae had been placed in interim charge and they will be assisted by Steven Smith, Brian Gilmour and Colin Stewart.

The news had not come as a surprise. Yet many supporters would have been relieved that it had come eventually as Beale’s tenure ended less than 12 months after he succeeded Van Bronckhorst and returned to Ibrox.

Van Bronckhorst had hoped that the break for the World Cup last November would have given him time to regroup and go again. In the end, it provided the board with the ideal chance to make a change and Beale has now suffered the same fate.

“I’d like to thank Michael for his dedicated work since he re-joined the club as manager last November,” Bennett said as Rangers confirmed the news in a statement at 8.35pm. “It is clear that results have fallen well short of the board’s, Michael’s and our supporters’ expectations.

“The search process for the new manager is already underway. I wish Steven Davis and the interim management team every success - they will remain in charge for as long as it takes to make the right appointment.”

That search is being overseen by James Bisgrove as he prepares to make a defining decision just a couple of months after being appointed as chief executive officer. He will report to the RIFC plc board – which consists of John Halstead, Alistair Johnston, Julian Woldhart and Graeme Park – as Bennett rubberstamps the first manager of his chairmanship.

The stakes could not be higher at Ibrox. The dust had not settled on Beale’s exit before thoughts turned to the future and sources stressed that time will be taken to ensure the 19th permanent manager in the club’s history is a successful one. He will be the fourth man to hold office within two years and there is an acknowledgement that such a scenario and that cycle of almost constant change simply cannot continue.

The search for Beale’s replacement is the priority for Bisgrove but it is not the only process that Rangers could be working through in the coming weeks. The Rangers Review understands that the board have not closed the door on the possibility of a sporting director being recruited to oversee a setup that includes John Park, the chief scout, director of football operations Creag Robertson and Dr Mark Waller, who was appointed as director of performance and medical earlier this summer.

That position has been vacant since Ross Wilson left to join Nottingham Forest in April and the task of having to fill both berths at once is an unenviable one for Rangers. The recruitment of a manager will be, and must be, the top item on the to-do list.

With the hunt for a new manager ongoing at Ibrox, Davis and Rae were getting down to business at Auchenhowie as the players arrived for the dawn of what must become a short-lived era. They did so with the backing of the man who had driven out of those blue crested gates for the final time.

"Thank you @rangersfc to everyone behind the scenes at the training ground and Ibrox, to the board, staff, fans and all the players,” Beale wrote on his Instagram page in the early hours of Monday morning. "I will always follow and support the club from afar and wish you every success.

READ MORE: Michael Beale's Rangers sacking: What went wrong? - Joshua Barrie

"Now is the time for everyone to unite fully behind Steven Davis and the team in the coming games. There is still so much to play for this season and I have a strong belief in this group of players. Thank you and good luck. MB."

A steady stream of names has already been touted but there is no standout candidate at present, no one man that would be a largely approved figure with the support. That was not the case when Van Bronckhorst or Beale were appointed by previous powerbrokers and Bennett and Bisgrove now have the platform to shape Rangers on the field in the way that they see fit. A raft of comings and goings at boardroom, executive and football levels permeated the summer, but this is the most significant call yet for the new partnership that is leading the club.

Beale was dispensed with before Bennett and Bisgrove became guilty by association. In these moments, everyone at Ibrox runs the risk of being in the crosshairs of a scunnered support and the feelings towards Beale will subside as attention is focused on the new boss rather than the old one.

That man, whoever it may be and whenever he is appointed, will inherit a situation that is bleaker than the day that Beale walked back through the front door. As The Rangers Review detailed in the aftermath of the transfer window, Beale was given weighty financial backing from the board and the investors and the ability to find the funds to go again – under a manager that will have his own targets and own philosophies – will shape the aspirations, both domestically and in European terms, for Rangers for several seasons to come.

Those who believed that Beale was never the right man for the job have been vindicated. Those who put their faith in him – including the handful that ultimately had to sack him after losing it all – have been let down by a coach who could talk the talk but a manager who couldn’t walk the walk.

Rangers have solved one problem with Beale’s departure. In many ways, the easy bit has been done. The next appointment, the next big decision, will be anything but for a board who will put their own reputations on the line as well as Rangers’ silverware aspirations.