JERMAIN DEFOE believes Rangers are set for a 'special season' next term as boss Michael Beale prepares for his first full campaign in the Ibrox dugout.

Beale returned to Glasgow in December after leaving Queens Park Rangers to succeed Giovanni van Bronckhorst following the end of his 12-month tenure that saw him reach the Europa League final and win the Scottish Cup.

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Retaining that silverware is now the sole ambition for Beale in the coming weeks after being unable to reduce Celtic's lead in the Premiership title race and seeing his first shot at a trophy end in Old Firm defeat in the Viaplay Cup final.

HeraldScotland: Rangers manager Michael Beale

The Englishman has put together a lengthy unbeaten league run in recent months and Defoe is confident the future will be bright once again at Ibrox as Beale aims to build over the summer transfer window.

Defoe said: “The job he’s done so far has been really good. He’s a top coach but he’s the boss now.

"Mick has been coaching for about 20 years all over the world. Tactically he’s amazing.

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"I learned so much from Mick, even at my age with all my experience in the game I was still able to learn a lot from Mick. I still speak to him now.

“The players love him. Every training session was good. He’s really clever, loves his football. He’s obsessed.

“It will be interesting to see how the boys do next season. It’s an amazing group with some fantastic players.

“I’m really looking forward to next season because I believe with a full pre-season going into the league next year I believe it will be a special season for the club."

Defoe made the move to Ibrox from Bournemouth in January 2019 and went on play a leading role on and off the park as Steven Gerrard's side clinched a historic 55th league flag two years later.

The former England internationalist worked closely with Beale as a player and then a coach during his time at Rangers before he left the club following Van Bronckhorst's appointment as boss.

The lure of a return to Glasgow was too great for Beale to turn down and Defoe, who was back in blue as he scored twice in the Legends match on Sunday, never doubted the 42-year-old would be Rangers manager once day.

“Of course," Defoe said when asked if he hoped Beale got the job at Ibrox. "I actually messaged him at that time to say ‘What’s happening, are you going to get the job or what?’

“He was still at QPR then and I know he enjoyed his time there. But I knew his family loved it up here.

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“So he messaged me back and said, ‘JD, I’m going to have to go back to the gym to get into that suit!’

“He meant because of the tradition that the manager wears a suit so he was like, ‘I’m going to have to get running to get in that suit!’

“He was so excited to come back - and how can you not be? It’s an amazing club."