Michael Beale’s lack of experience as a manager has led numerous fans and pundits to question if he is really the right man to take charge of a club of the size and stature of Rangers in recent days.

The 42-year-old, who was finally confirmed as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s successor on Monday, has spent the majority of his career working as a youth coach and an assistant.

He only took over from Mark Warburton at Queens Park Rangers back in June and oversaw just 22 matches at the English Championship outfit before departing.

Is he ready to lead the Ibrox club? Many cynics have their doubts.  

Yet, former Rangers midfielder Nigel Spackman has no concerns about his countryman being able to handle the main job at the Glasgow giants and deliver success.

Spackman heard exactly the same scepticism expressed when Walter Smith stepped up and succeeded Graeme Souness back in 1991 and saw first hand how he quickly silenced he doubters.

Smith led his injury-ravaged boyhood heroes to a third consecutive Premier Division triumph with a final day victory over nearest challengers Aberdeen in Govan and never looked back thereafter. 

“It was magnificent,” said Spackman. “We had horrendous injury and illness problems which really took a toll on us. Walter took over, did a great job in very difficult circumstances and got us over the line in that winner-takes-all game against Aberdeen.”   

Spackman, the ex-Bournemouth, Chelsea, Liverpool, QPR and Sheffield United player, believes Beale, who spent over three years at Rangers working under Steven Gerrard, can prove his worth as well.

“It is a slightly different situation,” he said. “When Walter took over from Graeme he had the chance to join him at Liverpool and chose not to go. But there are definitely parallels. Walter didn’t have any experience as a club manager and there were many people who wanted to see a big name brought in. 

“But he knew all the players, his man management skills were excellent, he had a fantastic squad and he had a winning mentality.  His knowledge of Scottish football was immense and his understanding of Rangers was top class as well. He knew what the club was all about.”

Spackman continued: “Michael did a fantastic job with Steven. He has got a reputation as being a very good coach. He has got a good knowledge of the current group of players, a good understanding of Scottish football and an appreciation of what Rangers is all about having been there before for over three years.

“Walter had the respect of the players as a first team coach because of the training sessions he had taken charge of and the tactical knowledge he had shown. But he still had to prove it to us as a manager.

“Ultimately, the buck stops with the manager. So he had to earn the respect of the players as the manager, Michael will be exactly the same. It is a completely different thing being the manager to being the coach. You have to get it right in big games.

“Michael will have to prove to the players, prove it to the fans and prove it to himself. But I am sure he is capable of doing that and I certainly wish him well.

“The size of the job at Rangers is massive. It is no good finishing second, you have got to finish top. But Michael will know that. He has won one title with Rangers up in Scotland. Now the big question is: ‘Can he turn it around this season?’ There is always a chance.”

Spackman, who won every honour in the Scottish game during the three years that he spent as a player at Rangers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, accepts that Beale will not be inheriting as strong a squad as Smith did.

He played alongside the likes of John Brown, Richard Gough, Mark Hateley, Peter Huistra, Mo Johnston, Ally McCoist, Trevor Steven, Gary Stevens, Mark Walters and Chris Woods during that halcyon era.

The ex-Sheffield United, Barnsley and Millwall manager knows it is vital that Beale is given extensive funds to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window if he is to beat Celtic to the cinch Premiership.

“Rangers did fantastically well in Europe under Steven Gerrard and Giovanni van Bronckhorst,” he said. “But the Champions League performances were disappointing and I think they have impacted on their league performances.

“They were playing against better teams and better players. But Michael will need to pick their confidence up and say: ‘Look, let’s forget about what has happened in the last few months and look forward to May’. He has to hit the ground running and try to close the gap on Celtic as quickly.

“He knows the training ground, he knows the personnel he is inheriting, he knows the people around the club. That is a good base to start from. But he needs the backing of the board in the transfer window.

“The board need to go all out and help him to strengthen the team. There is a squad there. But sometimes when you look at the team you can see they are just not good enough. He has to be given the finances to strengthen the squad

“It is going to be a long, hard slog this season. Celtic are well ahead in the league at the moment. To close the gap in the second half of the season will be tough. They need to get a bit of freshness in.

“He needs the tools to do the job and by that I mean players to make the team better. That is the battle going forward. It doesn’t matter if you bring in Michael Beale or Jurgen Klopp, if you don’t have good enough players you won’t win anything.”

Spackman continued: “I think Michael can take inspiration from what Walter did when he took over in similar circumstances. Yes, Celtic are comfortable ahead just now. But you never know what can happen towards the end of a season.

“But he needs to be given the opportunity to bring in better players to his team. The board have to back the manager. Walter always had a very stable board behind him in the background. David Murray appointed him and backed him fully. The current Rangers board have to do the same."