THE lessons of the past are shaping the Rangers of the future. As Michael Beale plans for the years to come, he can take inspirations from the seasons that have come and gone.

When Beale arrived at Ibrox in May 2018 alongside Steven Gerrard, he walked into a dressing room that needed an overhaul and rebuild after years of underachievement.

This was no quickfire makeover that could be completed with a tweak here or there. The squad that was inherited was not fit for purpose and the work had to be undertaken from the ground up as foundations were laid in a process that was revolution rather than evolution.

Four seasons on, a historic 55th Premiership title has been delivered alongside a long-awaited Scottish Cup success. Had fate dealt Rangers a kinder hand, the crowning moment would have arrived in Seville as Beale watched on from afar.

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Like all good things, it must come to an end. The squad that was assembled and then added to is at a crossroads. Beale now finds himself in the driving seat and it is he who will determine what road Rangers head down and where the journey takes them.

The Englishman has been open and forthright in recent weeks when asked about transfer strategies and potential recruits. It is an approach that could have raised eyebrows but one that has been refreshing for press and punters as Beale has provided, on the whole, straightforward answers to straightforward questions.

The prospect of short-term quick fixes and six-month loan deals - even ones that could make his record read better come the end of the campaign - was dismissed early on in the window. He acknowledged the need and expectation to win in the here and now but his priority is 'building and building and building where you want it to go' as he accepted there may have to be pain before there is gain.

Beale has been clear in laying out what he wants in public and who he wants in private. The obvious answer is good players, but he knows the importance of having the right characters within the squad and he spoke a fortnight ago about the process of knowing how potential recruits will fit in on the park and 'where he is going to sit at lunchtime'.

The dynamic is different now that Beale has the final authoritative say on how the money is spent but the process has the hallmarks of how Rangers operated during the first stages of Gerrard's reign as the core of a squad and a team were assembled.

"All those things in the past the club has done pretty well at and it is important I make sure I make right choices now," Beale said. "It’s important I make sure I make good choices now, not just for this six months but for the next two or three years.

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"If you go back to when Steven first recruited, some of those players are still in the club. That almost gets condemned. I would say that was very, very good recruitment at the time."

That first season saw Allan McGregor, Connor Goldson, Borna Barisic, Scott Arfield, Ryan Kent Steven Davis and Glen Kamara arrive at Ibrox. The early strike rate - overseen by Gerrard and Mark Allen - was impressive and it is one that Beale and Ross Wilson, the sporting director, must now match in their first two transfer windows.

The English market is one that Rangers have used well and cross-border deals for the likes of Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey proved hugely successful in sporting and financial terms. It is no surprise, then, that the first arrival of the Beale era fits a similar mould and it is an area Rangers should look to exploit once again.

Todd Cantwell was on the radar before Beale's appointment as Giovanni van Bronckhorst's successor in December and his signing, six months out from the expiry of his Norwich City deal, ticks several boxes. At 24, he has his peak years ahead of him but also the experience of more than 150 games behind him, and there is potential for a significant resale value further down the line.

Cantwell is not a project or a punt. There will be improvement to be found, of course, but he is at a level that, as Beale wished, he can come in and make an immediate impact as a starter.

"I want people that I can build around," Beale said earlier this month. "There is going to be a change in the summer of some faces. I think everybody is aware of that.

"Whoever comes in, I need to feel that I can build with them for the next two or three years, I want them to come in and be really core players for the club."

That was the Gerrard guide and will be the Beale blueprint. The 42-year-old wants to 're-energise' Rangers and he will breathe fresh life into the squad over the summer as experience is retained but the average age is reduced and quality, in the shape of vibrant, hungry recruits, is added to a group that has gone stale and that has suffered as a result of a series of poor decisions over the last couple of seasons.

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Every deal is a gamble but too many have gone against Rangers recently and Beale cannot afford for his record to be littered with expensive mistakes like Aaron Ramsey or Rabbi Matondo. It is the likes of a Ianis Hagi or Jermain Defoe he needs, as well as allowing the best of the Academy prospects to flourish in the manner that Nathan Patterson did.

Beale is very much his own man with his own ideas. His personality has come through in his press conferences and supporters now hope to see more of his coaching influence on the park as the treatment room clears and Rangers bid for a cup double this term.

Those are the aims by which Beale will ultimately be judged. He must win today as he builds for tomorrow and a back to the future approach will stand him and Rangers in good stead for the long run once again.