Rangers host Braga on Thursday night as European football returns under the Ibrox lights.

The Gers have done extremely well to reach this stage after emerging from a tough group, but, will be keen to move even deeper in the competition, despite Braga carrying superb form into the tie.

Ruben Amorim’s appointment has triggered a major upturn in fortunes for Braga. (Photo by Paulo Nascimento/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard will likely be sweating over the fitness of star left-back Borna Barisic, but he knows he already has a problem to solve in the middle of the park.

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Ryan Jack is unavailable for the game due to a suspension, after his late sending-off during the final Group G fixture against BSC Young Boys.

The Scotland international is a key component in the Gers midfield, who was sorely missed when he spent time on the sidelines earlier this month, courtesy of a calf injury.

With him ruled out, just two of the midfield spots pick themselves.


Scott Arfield is the one outfield player to really stand up and be counted since the winter break with six goals in nine games, and it’s hard to see how he is left out. Steven Davis’ performances haven’t quite been up to his normal standards, but he was livelier against Livingston and the importance of his experience is hard to underestimate.

That leaves Joe Aribo and Glen Kamara fighting to take Jack’s spot.

Aribo has been the more utilised of the two since the winter break, but this is a job for Kamara.

Kamara should be the player to come in for Rangers against Braga. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The 24-year-old hasn’t featured in either of the last two games but has shown already this season that he can form an effective shield for the back four in European competition.


He played in all but eight minutes of the Group G campaign, and his willingness to put in the hard yards and do the unglamorous tasks played a big part in getting to Gers to the knockout stages.

The foundation of Rangers’ unbeaten run at Ibrox up until this point was a solid defence. Feyenoord, Porto and BSC Young Boys all came to Govan and only scored one goal between them.

To pick Aribo, a player who is much more comfortable going forward than he is with the prospect of a 50-50 or helping out defensively, would be to compromise the excellent balance Gerrard has found in Europe this season.

Theoretically, if Morelos, Kent, Hagi and Arfield all start, Gerrard should have plenty of attacking firepower.

Kamara uses his body to turn away from danger against BSC Young Boys. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

With that in mind, it’s not a negative option to select Kamara.

The 24-year-old should be fresh after a brief absence from the side and brings robustness to the midfield that would otherwise be lacking it in the absence of Jack.

The ex-Dundee man thrives on the big occasion, as shown by his efforts with Finland during their successful Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

He endured a lacklustre start to the season and it took an excellent display against Porto to spark him into life. Perhaps a massive test against Braga can prove a similar catalyst for his 2020.

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