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Bisgrove delivers stern Champions League warning to Beale

On the back of his losing start to the SPFL campaign at Kilmarnock on Saturday, Micky Beale has been reminded that he is expected to deliver Champions League football to Ibrox.

With nine stunning new signings funded by around £15m from somewhere inside the club James Bisgrove isn’t in the mood to accept any excuses for not joining Celtic on the big stage.

After losing at Kilmarnock Beale will start to feel the pressure after a summer of incredible hype over the recruitment of players signed on the back of some shocking seasons.

Three strikers were signed after suffering relegation. Jack Butland never played a match last season while Kieran Dowell and Dujon Sterling plodded through the season doing nothing in particular in the Championship at Norwich and Stoke.

Beale met all of his signings, looked into their eyes and handed out above market rate contracts but after one match of the season questions are starting to be asked.

The rookie Ibrox boss has never been in charge of a European tie in his life but knows exactly what Bisgrove is expecting after his CEO spoke to The Sun:

It’s important that Rangers strive to be at the top table in European football, even more so when you look at the 2024-2027 cycle which isn’t far away.

I’m sure Michael and the team will be doing everything possible to navigate the Q3 round and, if that goes well, the play-off.

I don’t think whether we’re in the Champions League or the Europa League group stage will have a material impact in terms of what we’re doing with the squad, as we’re pretty much there now in terms of building a squad we think can compete in the Champions League.

Of course it’s not easy. We’ve got the test now against Servette and then you look at the potential teams we could play in the play-offs.

They are really difficult ties but we hope we’ve assembled a squad that Michael can be really competitive with, in terms of getting to that group stage.

In today’s Play Off draw the winners of the match against Servette will face the winners of the PSV Eindhoven v Sturm Graz match, giving Beale the opportunity to show why he is a better manager than Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

A year ago Antonio Colak scored the decisive goal in the Phillips Stadium to deliver Champions League football for the first time ever.

Van Bronckhorst was sacked before December came around with Colak the only player that Beale has so far managed to sell, going to Parma for an undisclosed fee.

Being generous, on Saturday’s evidence at Kilmarnock most of Beale’s signings have a fair bit of work to do to be match ready but one way or another they need to produce an aggregate victory over Sturn Graz over the next nine days.

Bisgrove makes it fairly clear that there will be no more signings, whether that Beale will get anything back from the transfers of Fashion Sakala and Glen Kamara is unknown, their fees could be used to offset the summer spending.

After reaching the Champions League group stage van Bronckhorst expected to be given extra funds, he wasn’t with the club humiliated by six defeats, a place in the Champions League record books and pay off’s to the Dutchman and his management team.

Since Beale was appointed in November there has been changes of CEO and Chairman at Ibrox, if Beale fails to deliver on targets there is less of a case for Bisgrove to retain the former QPR boss since he wasn’t involved in the appointment.

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