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Neil Banfield backs underfire Rangers boss Michael Beale, confirms Rabbi Matondo is out for six weeks

Neil Banfield backs underfire Rangers boss Michael Beale, confirms Rabbi Matondo is out for six weeks

Rangers assistant manager Neil Banfield has leapt to the defence of manager Michael Beale, who is facing scrutiny from the fans over the club’s form prior to the international break.

The Gers suffered a humiliating Champions League play-off exit against PSV Eindhoven, which relegated them to the Europa League group stage.

They then lost 1-0 to historical rivals Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the Scottish Premiership season, leading to murmurs of discontent from the supporters.

However, since the defeat to Celtic, Rangers have picked up three wins in a row, including a 1-0 victory over Real Betis in their Europa League Group C curtain raiser.

It hasn’t been enough to appease the Rangers supporters who continue to demonstrate their grievances against Beale ten months into the manager’s reign at Ibrox.

Banfield claims Beale is aware of the current situation and also offered an update on the fitness of Welsh forward Rabbi Matondo, who picked up a knock in the first half of their 1-0 win over Motherwell.

“He’s [Matondo] sustained a knee injury, think it’s going to be six weeks,” Banfield told Sky Sports reporters.

“But we’ve got the squad all prepared for tomorrow. He’s added onto the injury list – we’ve built the squad for tomorrow, and we go again against Livingston tomorrow night.”

Despite building up a head of steam after the international break, Beale has struggled to win over most Rangers supporters.

Banfield claims he understands the plight of the fans and admits Beale is also aware of the scrutiny he is facing from the unsatisfied section of the Rangers faithful.

“We all are [aware of the scrutiny from the fans] – we can’t get away from that,” he added. “But I think when we all come together, we speak as a group, and you analyse and prepare for what’s coming in all scenarios.

“I think we’ve prepared for this, and we deal with it. I think with the injuries as well, you know you’ve built a strong squad, and it’s time for players to come into the team and hopefully take the team into the semi-final.”

Rangers welcome Livingston to Ibrox on Wednesday night aiming to progress to the League Cup semi-final for a third consecutive campaign.

They will be eager to get their hands on the trophy after losing last season’s edition to title holders Celtic.

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