SPL

Michael Beale believes new signing Kieran Dowell will kick on at Rangers

By Sports Desk May 24, 2023

Michael Beale welcomed Kieran Dowell to Rangers after watching his side drop two points in a 2-2 draw against Hearts at Ibrox.

The Light Blues announced before the game that the 25-year-old midfielder would be joining the club from Norwich in the summer.

In Rangers’ final home cinch Premiership match of the season, Jambos skipper Lawrence Shankland opened the scoring after less than a minute and it took until added time in the first half for Todd Cantwell to level.

Fashion Sakala put Rangers ahead early in the second half but in the final seconds of three added minutes substitute Garang Kuol took advantage of some slackness to fire in the equaliser, albeit the Light Blues will finish the season unbeaten at home in the league.

Beale was enthusiastic about Dowell, saying: “I’m delighted to get Kieran and he is a boy I have known for quite a while as when I was at Liverpool he was at Everton.

“He played for England Under-21 and then got a move to Norwich and played in the Premier League. They have had changes of coaches, so he comes in and knows three or four of the dressing room.

“We have missed a lefty since we lost Joe Aribo. He is similar to Tom Lawrence, Scott Arfield, Todd Cantwell that he can play in midfield or up a line.

“I think he will kick on here and someone who will be seen as a good signing over time and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Rangers asked fans to stay behind after the game to pay tribute to Allan McGregor, Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent, Scott Arfield and Filip Helander, all of whom will leave in the summer, which they did with enthusiasm.

Beale, who will refurbish his squad further, said: “We are nearly there, we have been waiting to get to this point. Without being disrespectful we needed energising and we will come back stronger.

“We aren’t that far away from where we want to be, we have five, six or seven players coming in.

“I think the boys who came in in January (Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin) gave us energy and the fans want more.

“What I would say to the new players, is if you see how the boys who are leaving were treated then it is a wonderful football club.

“If you give your heart and soul, then the fans will pay you back tenfold. I don’t think it is normal what has happened tonight, especially after a trophyless season.

“The appreciation the fans showed was incredible and I am proud of them as they have had it tough this year.

“They seem optimistic and behind the group and they sent the boys off the right way.”

Hearts missed out on third place to Aberdeen but interim boss Steven Naismith, who took over from Robbie Neilson last month, insists that should not have happened after being 11 points clear of the Dons at one point.

He said: “That is disappointing but the club were 11 points clear at one point and it shouldn’t be in this position. That is what it is.

“Since I came in we have tried to go give ourselves as good a chance as we can.

“We have done that but when you are relying on others, that is not where you want to be, especially at a club like Hearts.

“You don’t want to be relying on others to get you success, we want to do it our way and that is something we have tried to do.

“In the games I have been in charge of, the amount of soft goals we have conceded has not been good enough.

“If we don’t concede a lot of them we are in a healthier position but the boys have done incredibly well to buy into what we want to do and try to also get results along the way.”

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    Lionel Messi expects a difficult test against Chile as Argentina look to maintain their unbeaten start at the 2024 Copa America. 

    Argentina play their penultimate Group A match at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Wednesday against La Roja, having beaten Canada on matchday 1. 

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    Meanwhile, Chile will be hopeful of improving their recent record against Argentina, having failed to beat their opponents since the Copa America final in June 2016, though they needed penalties to get the victory on that occasion.

    La Roja kickstarted their Copa America campaign with a goalless draw against Peru at the AT&T Stadium in Texas, managing to register just one shot on target from the 11 they attempted - the joint-fewest the Blanquirroja have faced in the competition since the debut of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese in the competition (2015).

    Gareca's side have failed to score in their last three games in the Copa America, a run of 378 minutes without a goal.

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    Victor Davila will be hoping to rediscover the goal-scoring touch he experienced before the Copa America ahead of coming up against the World Cup champions. 

    Having scored three goals and provided one assist in his previous three international appearances heading into their opener against Peru, the CSKA Moscow striker showed glimpses of his attacking threat. 

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    The Inter Miami star registered an assist for Lautaro Martinez's late goal, reaching 50 direct goal involvements in official competitions for club and country on U.S. soil (30 goals and 20 assists).

    However, Messi will be hoping to add to his 108 international goals at the MetLife Stadium. Should he score, it would take his Copa America tally to 14, level with Chile's Eduardo Vargas and Peru's Paolo Guerrero, three away from equalling Norberto Mendez's record (17). 

     

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARGENTINA WIN 

    The Opta supercomputer is heavily backing Argentina to maintain their unbeaten start at the 2024 Copa America. They won 66.5% of the pre-match simulations, while Chile won just 15.1%. 

    Argentina come up against a familiar foe in Chile at the tournament, with this their 30th meeting at the Copa America. La Roja are the third-most frequent opponent for Lionel Scaloni's side, behind only Brazil (34) and Uruguay (32).

    La Albiceleste remain unbeaten against Chile in these encounters (21 wins, eight draws). However, La Roja clinched their two titles by defeating Argentina in penalty shootouts in the 2015 and 2016 finals.

    Since 2011, Argentina have the fewest losses (two) among teams that have played in more than one Copa America edition. La Albiceleste also boasts the most victories in the tournament during this period (18).

    Chile, however, will be looking to upset the odds. La Roja are looking for their first win in games between the two teams since June 2016. During that time, Argentina have outscored the Chilean side 7-4, something that will need to change to increase their chances of progression. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Chile - 15.1%

    Argentina - 66.5%

    Draw - 18.4%

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    The Dutch came from behind to win their opening Group D game against Poland, before holding out for a point against a wasteful showing from Les Bleus. 

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