The Ibrox side have to win at the home of their rivals to have any hope of claiming back the title and they geared up for the challenge with a trouble-free 2-0 win over Dundee United. It is their tenth league win in a row since a 2-2 draw against Celtic at Ibrox on 2 January. A goal in each half from Malik Tillman secured the points on an afternoon in which goalkeeper Allan McGregor made his 500th appearance for the club. He was given a decanter from John Greig, voted Rangers’ greatest-ever player, on the pitch before kick-off. McGregor was also named man of the match despite barely making a save. Tillman was the de facto man of the match.
Afterwards Beale offered more positive signs that the 20-year-old, who is on loan from Bayern Munich, will make the move permanently at the end of the season. The clubs have an agreement already in place and it now seems down to the player himself. “Am I getting the feeling from Malik that he wants to be here next season? Yeah,” said Beale. “I’ve never felt anything different. He’s locked into the staff and invested in the team.”
Tilman will likely be a key figure if Rangers are to secure what they need at Celtic Park on Saturday. The gap at the top is currently six points but Celtic take on Ross County in Dingwall tomorrow. “Next week will be a completely different game,” said Beale. “Hopefully we’ll have more spaces to play in. We’ll have a different selection because we’ll pick what we think is right for that. But our form in the league has set us up for this game. It’s a big challenge but we’re looking forward to it. It was important to win today and get a clean sheet.
“I get it, it’s a big game,” he added. “It’s nothing more than three points but we need to prove something to ourselves for sure. It’s a fantastic derby and the eyes of the world will be on it. It’s a privilege to be involved in it and we’ve got a good week to prepare.”