IT was the 90 minutes that overshadowed the 90 days. It was the snapshot of where Rangers are as Michael Beale looks at the bigger picture and where they must get to.

The blame game in the aftermath of an Old Firm defeat always sees fingers pointed in many directions. Beale has taken his fair share of the flak, and perhaps more than would have been expected, while his players, Ross Wilson and the Ibrox board have all been labelled with culpability.

The truth is never black and white. Each area of grey deserves comment and analysis and ultimately contributes to a situation that saw Rangers lose the Viaplay Cup final and see Celtic edge another step closer to their record haul of medals in Scottish football's honours table.

Beale described the reaction from supporters and his side as 'strong' as he spoke for the first time since leaving Hampden. The caveat of the fact that he is only three months into the job was followed by an admission that there is no 'magic wand' to solve the issues that he faces as he waits for a summer that provides an opportunity to start afresh.

Time will tell how sweeping the changes that Beale makes will be. He insisted that events on Sunday had not 'condemned anyone or pushed anyone further forward' in his thinking but the minds of many in the stands have already been made up and members of a squad that have repeatedly failed are fighting for their individual futures.

The result was one thing, but the manner of it was quite another and Beale was adamant that his assessment of his side would have been the same even if they had managed to lift the silverware. A comparison to his first matches when he arrived at Ibrox five years ago isn't exactly favourable.

“We’ve had one window and we will have a significant one in the summer," Beale said as he highlighted the requirement for 'four or five' starters in what will be a time of considerable change at Ibrox. "Moving forward we need to turn things over.

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“That’s fine, that’s natural. Players have their cycles in clubs. We’ve got a lot of experience in the room who’ve done some really good things so you treat them well.

“But if you feel the club needs to move forward... There is a difference between being ruthless and reckless.

“It would be foolish of me to discard with over a third of the season to go. There is still a trophy to fight for. It would be foolish to do that to players who have been good to the club and don’t deserve that.

“Also, we do have to do well in these 12 games. I can’t just throw them away. That’s not how football works.

“We have returned some good results but we have just lost a big game, no one is getting away from the reasons we lost. But at the same time I need to build a vision and a plan and not move away from that.”

Beale pointed to the quality and composure of Celtic as the decisive factors in the final. An Alfredo Morelos strike gave Rangers hope, but it was the two from Kyogo Furuhashi that made the difference and Ange Postecoglou's side now have a domestic clean sweep in their sights as they close in on the Premiership title.

There is a growing desire amongst sections of the support for Beale to rip it up and start again but that process is not one that can be undertaken right now while matches, and a Scottish Cup medal, are still there to be won in the coming months.

Beale must forge a team of winners, one which is built on wise recruitment and plays with a style and substance. Calls for time largely fall on deaf ears in Glasgow and Beale takes no solace from the fact that the defeat was the first that he has suffered in 15 matches.

“It probably confirmed one or two things," Beale said. "The way that we want to play is not ingrained as their way.

“Maybe you could say after just 90 days that’s obvious. I think they’ve done really well in their recruitment and it’s important that we do the same in ours moving forward.

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“If we focus on Rangers, the group needs a bit more energy. I think the fans need to feel some oxygen as well with one or two new faces. All of that is in the post, it’s coming in the summer.

“We’ve got to get to the summer, we’ve got 12 league games and a Scottish Cup to try and retain so hopefully there’s 15 games up until June 3, where we can continue on the run we’ve been on and retain the Scottish Cup.

“That’s my focus now. But the decisions that need to be made I am comfortable with.

“There is no patience in Glasgow, I get that. To lose one in 15, doesn’t give me any consolation. I lost a game that was really important to the football club.”

The next fixture doesn't come with the same sense of occasion but the expectation of victory is just as profound as Kilmarnock head to Ibrox aiming to capitalise on a wounded Rangers and give Beale another fire to fight this weekend.

The gap to Celtic remains at nine points in the Premiership and the records across the Old Firm divide are the same since Beale succeeded Giovanni van Bronckhorst. He has done his bit in that regard, but it will not be enough come the end of the campaign.

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It will be at that moment that Beale can really start to focus on the future. Contracts will be put on the table, honest conversations will be held and a squad that has come to the end of its time will be refreshed ahead of a term that will be more indicative of Beale's abilities as boss.

“I think their form has been excellent because our form has been excellent," Beale said. "It’s been exactly the same in the league.

“The disappointment at the weekend was that it was a big opportunity for the players, for me, for the fans, for the club. And we didn’t take it.

“When you lose a big cup final to a rival, there’s a lot of emotion around it and I completely accept that.

“All the emotion that would have been around the game had we won it, I’d have accepted that as well.

“But I don’t necessarily agree with it all. I need to be rational. A manager needs time to put his stamp on a squad.

“I know this squad, I went on a journey with it before but I went away for a year and now I want to put my stamp on it.

“Over time I’ll do that but what I’ve been able to do in the interim is to get results to try to add confidence to the rebuild.

“The fact we went into the game with the fanbase really optimistic and confident tells you we must have made some steady progress over the last 90 days.

“It wasn’t enough but that’s only going to strengthen my will, not weaken it."