Neil McCann confident Rangers can still beat Celtic to Premiership title as Michael Beale appointment edges closer

A deal has yet to be concluded with the 42-year-old Englishman but negotiations are believed to be at an advanced stage

Neil McCann is confident Rangers can still turn the tide and beat their Glasgow rivals Celtic to the Scottish Premiership title this season, despite sitting nine points adrift at the top of the table.

The managerless Gers have been lining up potential candidates to replace sacked Giovanni van Bronckhorst in the Ibrox hot seat this week, with front runner Michael Beale granted permission by English Championship side QPR to hold talks with club officials over the vacant manager’s job on Saturday.

GlasgowWorld understands the highly-rated Englishman’s appointment is almost a done deal barring any last minute problems, with the Light Blues hopeful of naming their new boss in the next 48 hours as players return to training on Monday following their two-week break.

Should Beale, who turned down a proposed move to Premier League side Wolves last month, accept the offer on the table to take over Rangers, he will have a massive task on his hands to prevent Ange Postecoglou’s Hoops side from regaining the top-flight trophy.

A deal has yet to be concluded with the 42-year-old but negotiations are believed to be at an advanced stage. Reports claim Beale is also aiming to bring several members of his backroom staff at QPR with him to Govan.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, McCann said: “You’ve got to think about how quickly things can change. Nobody would have seen St Mirren beating Celtic, nobody. You just don’t know how someone is going to come back from a break and what the change in their mindset is going to be.

“I think the change in manager; the board have looked at it and said we need to do something. There was a body language issue with the Rangers players. I still don’t believe they have become bad players, and it’s shocking that you can write a league off in November.

Rangers' Scott Arfield looks dejected during the defeat by Ajax at Ibrox.
Rangers' Scott Arfield looks dejected during the defeat by Ajax at Ibrox.
Rangers' Scott Arfield looks dejected during the defeat by Ajax at Ibrox.

“There is a group of players in there that their application is not what it should be, and that group needs a shake up. Whether that comes from a good guy walking in the building that they can relate to or someone goes in there and shakes a few trees and says this isn’t good enough. There is a tradition and a demand and an acceptable performance level that you have to do when you got to a club like Rangers and Celtic.

“I felt it when I walked in the door, I know what it is now, and I didn’t see it in the last couple of performances and that’s not because Giovanni (van Bronckhorst) has gone. I think if he had been given time to turn the group round he could have started getting results.”

Rangers are thought to have considered a number of possible alternatives to Beale if talks were to dramatically collapse but they will hope to avoid visiting a back-up plan. The former Chelsea, Liverpool and São Paulo coach built a strong relationship with club chairman Douglas Park and several Ibrox directors during his three-year spell as Steven Gerrard’s assistant.