Michael Beale has stressed Viaplay Cup final victory against Celtic on Sunday would be only a staging post in his quest for bigger achievements with Rangers.
Since Beale took over as Gers boss in November he has won 13 and drawn one of his 14 games in charge but still the Light Blues remain nine points behind the Hoops at the top of the cinch Premiership.
The former QPR manager, who was assistant coach to Steven Gerrard during his time in the Rangers hot seat, has his first chance to win silverware as manager against Ange Postecoglou’s relentless reigning champions but he is also looking longer-term.
“We want to win the League Cup, we want to win all the cups in front of us, but that is not ultimately why I am here,” said Beale, who revealed “no real positive news” about injured trio Malik Tillman, John Lundstram and Ryan Jack.
“I am here to win the league and we are behind in that.
“Our form has been very good, their form has been very good as well so we have not been able to cut the points gap. There is still lots of football to be played.
“Of course we want to win the League Cup but there is bigger things in my mind after that and it is part of ticking a box in terms of where I ultimately want to take us.
“After this weekend, we have a lot of work to do regardless of the outcome.
“This is a one-off game, a cup final between two rivals and both teams will go head-to-head.
“But come Monday morning, whatever the outcome, I still have a big job to do.
“We have a number of contract situations in terms of where we want to take the club making us stronger moving forward.
“The focus on that will return on Monday morning regardless of the result this weekend.
“This weekend is about focusing on this game and making sure we do ourselves justice and come away in a good place, and a good place for us will obviously be winning the trophy.”
Tillman (hamstring), Jack (calf) and Lundstram (ankle) missed the 3-0 win over Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena at the weekend and were declared as “big doubts” immediately after the game by Beale.
Scott Arfield has been missing for around a month with a calf injury but will return to training at the end of the week and “should be available for selection if training goes well”.
However, John Souttar (ankle), Tom Lawrence (heel), Rabbi Matondo (knee), Steven Davis (knee), Ridvan Yilmaz (hamstring) and Filip Helander (foot) remain out.
Beale said: “No real positive news right now. None of the boys returned to training today.
“We know we’ve had a long injury list. We’ve had it since I came back in and prior to that.
“I thought the team you saw at the weekend will be very close to the type of team we put out for the cup final and it performed well.
“If we get one or two additions back, that will be a bonus but I’m not counting on it right now.”
Asked if he would gamble on players’ fitness, he said: “Only if I think they can get through it.
“We live in a fantasy world if we think players lace their boots up every week in fantastic physical condition.
“It’s a final against a big rival. I am 100 per cent sure one or two will declare themselves fit around Friday or Saturday – whether they are, I’ll have to make the choice on that.
“This is why you build a squad, we’re quite blessed with the level of player we can call upon.”
:: Michael Beale was promoting Viaplay’s exclusively live coverage of the Viaplay Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic on Sunday from 2pm. Viaplay is available to stream from viaplay.com or via your TV provider on Sky, Virgin TV and Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.