FORMER Celtic striker reckons Michael Beale will require a giant slice of good fortune if he is to emerge triumphant from Sunday’s Viaplay League Cup Final.
The Ibrox side take on Celtic with the holders favourites to retain the trophy which was Ange Postecoglou’s first piece of silverware as Neil Lennon’s long-term successor when they came back to overcome Hibs 2-1 in a rousing, rollicking Hampden showdown in December 2021.
Beale, who replaced the sacked Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November, labelled the Hoops gaffer “a lucky man” in reference to the transfer funds he could utilise as he continues to stenghten the champions, as CQNreported early last month.
A BIG HAND…Ange Postecoglou applauds his Celtic players before their 4-0 romp against Aberdeen on Saturday.
But one-time Parkhead fans’ favourite Nicholas insists it will take a u-turn in fortuity if the Englishman, who has not even been a manager in his own right for a full year, can somehow take the silverware to Govan after the derby at the national stadium in five days’ time.
Beale and Postecoglou saw their only head to head confrontation conclude in a 2-2 draw at Ibrox on January 2 when the visitors scored early through Daizen Maeda and then allowed their opponents back into the contest by conceding to quick goals – one a penalty-kick – after the turnaround.
It was left to Kyogo Furuhashi, with his first strike against the Govan club, to make it honours even when he rifled in the equaliser two minutes from the end.
Ironically, those two points are the only ones either boss has lost in the last three months with Postecoglou’s pacesetters nine points ahead with 12 games to play.
It would take a form collapse of seismic proportions for the Hoops not to claim their ELEVENTH crown in 12 years.
PRIZE GUYS…Ange Postecoglou is flanked by two-goal Kyogo Furuhashi and captain Callum McGregor after the 2-1 win over Hibs in the League Cup Final in December 2021.
Nicholas said: “Michael Beale will become the ‘lucky man’ in Glasgow if his Rangers team manages to beat Celtic and lift the League Cup.
“Sitting in the Celtic camp, I do expect Celtic to win the Cup Final this weekend. I think Beale has made Rangers better, but there is still a gap.
“Celtic’s squad is much stronger than Rangers. That is an absolute fact.
“Beale is trying to play catch-up. He is not going to win the title. He will know that, but will never admit it until it is done.”
Nicholas, as reported in the Daily Record, added: “It would still be an amazing capture for Beale to lift the [Viaplay] trophy after just coming through the door.
“Beale is quite an inventive coach and I am sure he will come up with a little tweak here or there.”
He’ll be lucky, though, if Postecoglou hasn’t something up his conjurer’s sleeve to make certain the green and white ribbons remain on the trophy.