There is a time to just sit back and enjoy moments in football. Extra time in Pittodrie was one such logic-defying occasion.

On 94 minutes Rangers were 2-1 down and set to travel south defeated, potentially falling 12 points behind Celtic before Christmas. By 97 minutes they had turned it around with more than a little help from Scott Arfield.

Michael Beale branded trips to Aberdeen and Dingwall in three days a ‘mentality week’ and to win in such a manner showed resolve. Ryan Kent took ownership, took the ball and took a shot for the equaliser. Malik Tillman held off two men to twist, turn and deliver for the third. Arfield twice got onto a loose ball before his Aberdeen counterparts realised he’d run free.

When the Sky camera cut to the Rangers bench, Beale and his staff weren’t the iconographies of joy you’d expect. The manager’s face gave away what he really thought of his team’s performance.

“10 out of 10 for character and mentality. In the end, probably five out of ten for performance,” he said afterwards.

“I see a group that isn’t the most confident at the moment. Away here is a difficult game, it was a difficult evening. I thought they stuck together and we got over the line. We’ll have to do that again on Friday and we’ve got some work to do, I think that’s clear for everyone to see.”

He repeated similar sentiments in the post-match press conference, highlighting that Rangers didn’t play together as a unit at points, adding “we need to commit to the style”.

Beale’s comments were not necessarily critical but realistic. With limited training time and the physiological burden of this season still visibly weighing down some. The two goals were massive, and so to the boost of winning in such a fashion, but that can’t paper over the cracks.

On the basis of xG, Rangers did deserve to win. Ending with 2.15xG to the hosts’ 0.66.

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Some caveats need to be placed here, however. As the trendline shows, a large chunk of that xG arrived in the final stages. Aberdeen were content protecting their lead after going ahead before the hour mark. By no means was this encounter as one-sided as the stats suggest.

Beale knows winning ugly is not a bad trait, in fact, it’s something that he specifically highlighted as a necessary development in his pre-match press conference. Although that was in relation to keeping clean sheets and grinding games out, not coming from behind successively to win 3-2.

That shows character and togetherness, yes. It’s a comeback that would’ve felt impossible away from home in recent months. And yet, the manager knows he can’t rely on such variable scorelines. Rangers need more control, more composure, more time playing in a system that he believes will yield success.

An admission of the need to “commit to the style” gives context to some of the struggles experienced off the ball.

A team’s approach out of possession is hugely important. It can allow them to defend as they want to attack, sitting deep and leaving space to transition into or trying to win the ball high up the pitch in dangerous areas, for example.

What’s more, it impacts how the opposition can play. There’s a reason Beale wants his teams to ‘own the pitch’ out of possession, he still thinks they can be in control even when not in possession of the ball.

READ MORE: Red flags and why Michael Beale isn't Rangers 'performance happy'

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The new manager wants his side to play compact, act aggressively off the ball and hunt in packs. Shuttling as a unit and utilising a high line to dictate the ‘length’ of the pitch opponents can play within.

“Running forward more off the ball and playing closer together” was a line repeated in most of his early interviews.

Speaking after the recent win against Hibs, Beale was not only concerned with the nature of goals Rangers conceded but where they originated from. One set-piece concession and one goal against from a transition, he was quick to point out that as a possession-based team, they’d have to improve in both areas.

If you look to dominate the majority of the ball and get stung by the opponents in such moments, obtaining control becomes difficult. Throughout last night, Aberdeen found it too easy to create chances, get up the pitch and relieve pressure.

The sequence below sums up the issues experienced by the visitors.

Rangers have ‘overloaded’ the right side of the pitch, getting more bodies around the ball than their opponents and limiting their passing options. While No.20, Leighton Clarkson, is free on the right, they’re happy to sacrifice leaving a man over on the opposite side of the pitch in favour of greater cover around the ball.

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Connor Barron’s only passing option is to play right into the feet of Glen Kamara.

READ MORE: Michael Beale's Rangers tactical blueprint revealed

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Rangers’ shape has allowed them to trap the opposition by controlling the space. They regain possession and given the height of their attackers, can play directly into the final third with good numbers. It shows them defending as they want to attack.

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Beale’s men can’t exploit the moment, however. A heavy touch from Morelos allows Liam Scales to intercept and move forward.

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The front three are slow to run back and close Scales down. Ryan Jack gets across to apply pressure but doesn’t block Barron’s pass and, given the height of Rangers’ line, a straight ball can be played over the top, with only poor execution preventing a clear chance for the hosts.

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Without this pressure from the front and protection against passes from deep, a high line can always look exposed.

Aberdeen’s equaliser originated from what Beale branded a “silly ball into midfield” and the second also showed a vulnerability in their defensive shape.

With the front three stretched and not moving as a unit, Scales, able to step forward from the back three, can wrap a ball into the frontline largely unopposed. Arguably, Kamara should be quicker to close him down. It should be said that the whole front six looks stretched, however.

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Beale also conceded his men “really struggled” after going behind, creating just one chance in the 15 minutes that followed Clarkson’s goal. 

Rangers did find a way to win. However, there remains issues in this squad that will only be fixed by a mixture of transfer dealings and time on the training ground.