AS he basked in the warm afterglow of Celtic’s impressive and improbable victory over Rangers at Ibrox a fortnight ago, Brendan Rodgers made light of the predicament he had found himself in going into the game. 

“I understand I have been placed on death watch by the media,” he said with a smile as he spoke to reporters in the plush new press auditorium at Ibrox following his team’s narrow 1-0 triumph.

Rodgers’ ability to laugh off the hysterical overreaction which invariably follows any draw or defeat which the Parkhead club suffer – pundits proclaiming he has lost his Midas touch, irate supporters demanding he be sacked immediately and Pep Guardiola targeted – and remain focused on the football has always been invaluable to him in the high-profile role.

READ MORERangers boss Michael Beale offers insight into Ibrox board discussions

The pressure which he found himself under following the 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the Viaplay Cup and the 0-0 stalemate with St Johnstone in the cinch Premiership was harsh in the extreme given the short length of time he had been in situ and the number of key players he was missing due to injury.

Yet, the Northern Irishman knows full well that anything less than outright victory, in domestic competition anyway, will meet with an inevitable response at the Scottish champions.

He is aware that if Dundee are not overcome in the Premiership at Celtic Park this afternoon and if his charges suffer a heavy loss at the hands of Feyenoord in their Champions League opener in Rotterdam on Tuesday night then the online snipers will train their sights on him once again despite the understrength side he is being forced to field just now.

There is a morbid fascination among football fans with managers who are struggling and nowhere is that more the case than in Glasgow. It is perhaps no coincidence the city was the location for many of the scenes in the cult Eighties sci-fi movie Death Watch.

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The Bertrand Tavernier (no relation to James) directed film is, for anyone with the good fortune to have never seen it, set in the near future at a time when death from disease is rare.

Harry Dean Staunton plays an ambitious television executive who is determined to create the ultimate television reality show. He persuades journalist Harvey Keitel to have cameras and transmitters implanted in his eyes so he can secretly film and broadcast the final days of the terminally ill Romy Schneider. His nefarious plot does not go according to plan.

It is a very silly plot indeed. But it is no more absurd than the scrutiny which many managers in the modern game are subjected to. Little if any consideration is ever given by onlookers to the issues which they are dealing with during a bad run of form amid the ghoulish rush to delight in their impending demise. Still, it is the unfortunate reality of their profession now.

Michael Beale has found himself on death watch at Rangers since the Old Firm defeat. It was reported that the Ibrox hierarchy had sounded out Graham Potter about taking over during the international break. Speculation abounded on social media this week that a major announcement was imminent.

READ MORELundstram backs Rangers boss Beale to turn things around at Ibrox

The opening day Premiership defeat to Kilmarnock in Ayrshire was certainly hard for their followers to take. As was the heavy Champions League play-off loss to PSV Eindhoven. The Celtic reverse proved too much for those who retained faith in the Englishman. Not that there were very many of them.

The significant improvement in performances which they anticipated after an extensive summer rebuild has just not happened. No fewer than nine players were brought on board at a cost of over £13m during the close season. But goalkeeper Jack Butland is the only new recruit to impress so far.

Is it, though, really reasonable to expect a side which has undergone such radical surgery to have gelled after just nine matches together? Yes, they should have been able to beat their patched-up city rivals at home with a stadium full of their own supporters roaring them on. But it is a little too soon to dismiss the much-heralded acquisitions as failures and dispense with the services of the man who sanctioned their signings.

The coming eight days will go a long way towards determining whether Beale can weather the storm. Nothing less than outright victory against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park this afternoon will suffice. A loss in Perth in the league was the beginning of the end for his predecessor Giovanni van Bronckhorst last season. 

Real Betis will be tough opening group stage opponents in the Europa League on Thursday evening. Still, the hosts will have to give a good account of themselves against the seventh placed side in La Liga at the very least or discontent will mount in the stands. The meeting with on-form Motherwell in Govan three days later is massive.

Beale will be without Todd Cantwell in all of those outings and desperately needs Jose Cifuentes, Danilo, Cyriel Dessers, Sam Lammers, Dujon Sterling and Abdullah Sima to step up if he is to survive.

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