Michael Beale cut an exasperated, troubled figure following a chastening 1-0 defeat against Celtic at the start of the month. Predictably, the fan reaction quickly gathered heat until it was burning with the ferocity of a furious firestorm. After all, this wasn't just defeat to a rival at home, it was a loss to a side decimated by injury who will never be weaker than in that singular moment. In the aftermath of the match, while Brendan Rodgers recovered some of his bombast and playful sparkle, Beale looked like a man well aware of the maelstrom of anguish he was now going to be swept up in. 

It's to the Englishman's credit that he gritted his teeth, went back to the training ground coal face and then defeated St Johnstone in Perth before impressively vanquishing Spanish side Betis at Ibrox on Thursday. The La Liga team, managed by Premier League winner Manuel Pellegrini no less, are certainly nobody's mugs. They finished sixth last term and have a far more valuable squad than their opponents, currently operating in the comparative financial wasteland that is the Scottish Premiership. And yet, the Spaniards were undone through an Abdullah Sima goal - a result all the metrics showed Rangers deserved on the night.

Watching on, it was not the result that stood out but the manner of it that registered strongest. You'd have to say that any notion these players are not putting in a shift for the manager took a hit in the crisp Govan air. This was the performance of a team scrapping for each other, against an opponent they knew was a level-up. 

Beale himself touched on this point after the match, saying: "There are areas of our game we need to improve but in terms of work ethic, desire and passion tonight, I will take that. It's a great starting place for us." To underline his point he went on to highlight the winning goal from a set-piece where Rangers were first to make contact in every instance as the ball ricocheted around the penalty box before Sima applied the killer touch. The desire was there at that moment all right.

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One of Beale's repeated refrains during his time as the manager is the importance of strength in both boxes. Rarely has this point been made during anything outside of a lament. Here the tone was much happier. This newfound killer instinct has been an element to Rangers' play that's been hard to find so far. Against Killie on the opening day, they had 25 minutes to reverse Brad Lyon's opener but couldn't muster anything even approaching a siege. Against Celtic, they huffed and puffed, missing a succession of chances as they pressed to get parity a full half, making Liam Scales look like Paolo Maldini in the process. As such grave questions were correctly being asked about this new team's capacity to perform under duress, a pre-requisite for any successful Rangers side.

The main repeat criticism of Beale's 10-month tenure has centred on his failure to win when it counts, against Celtic primarily, but the crushing defeat in Eindhoven in the Champions League only added to the growing notion that his team shrunk when they should be puffing out their chests, ready for battle. Betis proved that there's life in this team yet. 

Nine new players arrived in the summer and it was always going to take time to bed them all in. The likes of John Souttar, Ridvan Yilmaz and Tom Lawrence barely played last season and come into this one as practical newcomers so the true scale of change has been further masked. Perhaps Beale's major error has been in not controlling the narrative around how long these men, coming in from far and wide, might take to come together as a unit. Amidst the summer positivity driven by the many new faces signing on, perhaps the likely painful reality of piecing the jigsaw together was allowed to be somewhat glossed over. Walter Smith, a grizzled campaigner who knew the ups and downs of Old Firm management as well as anyone famously tried to keep an even keel, never too up nor down, very aware of the omnipresent fire licking his feet. Beale, who always comes across as an intelligent, thoughtful football thinker will surely have learned an important lesson in that regard.

It's often forgotten the 42-year-old is only in his second season in management. For all his coaching accolades, he had four months at QPR before being enticed back from London. He's a rookie and as such, when he was hired it must have been accepted that mistakes would be made - as they undoubtedly have been. The thought process then was that Beale's coaching qualities were worth the gamble. 

It's a different regime in place now but there's no doubting that those in positions of power respect their manager's potential to become something special in the job. And if Beale does indeed live up to such a billing, this difficult period might just be the making of the manager. After all, a glance at the destination of domestic trophies in the last decade clearly suggested taking the role now was unlikely to ever be a cakewalk. Having been here before when only one trophy in nine was secured, he knows the challenges inside out. And yet, knowing it's coming and dealing with the tsunami of opprobrium when it arrives are two very different things. There's no question Beale's been through the fire these last weeks - now he will hope that Betis was the spark that reignites Rangers' season.