This is a game that could break Michael Beale’s time as Rangers manager. Not winning is completely unthinkable and could be enough to end his spell at Ibrox.
Not only that though, three points won’t be enough for fans who have been incredibly dissatisfied with what has been on offer so far this season. Rangers need a performance and a good one at that. The football this season so far has been turgid and uninspired and the truth is, the fans are already sick of it.
This is as big a game as the manager has had in his short managerial career, he needs to inspire these players onto better than what has come previously. After all, he now has his team, time to start playing that ‘handbrake off’ style he’s spent so much time talking about.
Todd Cantwell being out at this time is a massive blow. Who will the manager trust to replace him?
It will be interesting to see what formation and style Beale goes with tomorrow. Will he persist with using the full backs for width, bring wingers back into play start with a three at back?
Let’s look at my predicted line-up for tomorrow, I’m predicting the manager brings wingers back into the line-up.
GK – Jack Butland – Currently, the only summer signing that has pass marks. The Englishman has been excellent since coming in and looks a real leader at the back.
Between his on-field performances and media interviews, he quickly become a fan favourite and has already made some crucial saves this season.
RB – James Tavernier – He said he was happy with his recent form, it’s fair to say that comment didn’t go down well with fans. He needs to step up and be a captain both on and off the pitch.
Not all the criticism aimed at him has been justified but to come out and say he was happy with his own form was unacceptable, he needs to be better and lead by example.
CBs – Connor Goldson & John Souttar – Still the strongest centre back pairing, I believe. Souttar has had games where he’s been superb for 99% of it then gives away a stupid goal. Many fans have pointed out if that were Ben Davies the reaction would probably be different and that is probably true.
That being said he brings aggression and commitment along with strong ability on the ball, perfect for this type of game.
LB – Ridvan Yilmaz – He offered good width coming off the bench in the Old Firm. He still needs to massively improve his final ball but he gets into positions that Barisic doesn’t. He’s also not in the Europa League squad so I think he’ll get the domestic nod.
CDM – Nico Raskin – Off the ball, the Belgian U21 international has been his usual self, dogged, determined and clever with the press. However, on the ball this season he’s been very poor.
He’s been giving the ball away too often, both with passes and being caught in possession. Fans know what he’s capable of and he needs to get back to the levels of last season.
RCM – Jose Cifuentes – Unsurprisingly, adjusting to life in Glasgow hasn’t been easy for the Ecuadorian. It’s a massive adjustment coming from LA to Scotland and it seems he hasn’t found the transition particularly seamless so far.
That being said, he’s a player that Beale said would ‘take us to another level’ and we need to start seeing that. Tomorrow could give him a chance to show the Rangers fans what he’s really capable of.
LCM – Tom Lawrence – Todd Cantwell being ruled out for 3-4 games is a huge blow. The fact that Lawrence was mentioned as being fully fit may make him the replacement. He’s very capable playing as an 8 and will always look to get forward.
His strongest asset is his ability to get shots away. Which is something Rangers lack all over. He may not be ready but it might be a good game to introduce him back in.
RW – Abdallah Sima – Pace and power, that’s what you get with Sima. He looked dangerous coming off the bench against Celtic and got in behind a few times and he has the ability to knock it beyond the fullback and get onto it at the other side of them.
He could be key in getting in behind an always stubborn St. Johnstone defence.
ST – Danilo – This summers marquee signing needs to start getting chances in the first 11. He’s shown flashes of good striking ability with picking up good positions to get chances. He looks like he could be the type of player to get 20+ goals a season but he won’t get anywhere near that only playing 20/30 minutes from the bench.
Dessers hasn’t set the world alight and maybe some time on the bench will be as good for him as a start will for Danilo.
LW – Rabbi Matondo – Another one who’s shown flashes of what they can provide. Between the goal at Ibrox against PSV to the mazy run in Eindhoven. Matondo has shown that he has the ability to provide moments of brilliance.
He needs to be consistent with this though and start adding numbers to his game. He also needs to show the confidence he showed in that run against PSV more, too often he’s indecisive out wide but he can take on fullbacks and beat them it’s just a case of doing it on a more regular basis.
As previously mentioned, tomorrow is huge for Michael Beale and the rest of Rangers season. Failure to win tomorrow means potentially going 6/7 points behind Celtic. At this point in the season, combined with the performance, that could cost the manager his job.
The big question is though, what formation does he go with? Does he completely mix it up and go three at the back? Bring wingers back in? Is he stubborn enough to stick with the same formation?
How do you think Rangers should line-up? What formation would you go with? Who makes your starting 11?
Are you confident of a result tomorrow? What are your match predictions?
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ICYMI you can read yesterdays article on whether a win tomorrow is enough here.