On Saturday, the domestic action in the top flight resumes, and Rangers face Hamilton at Ibrox. Somehow, it’s felt like there’s been a higher number of international breaks this season, despite that not changing. A part of that feeling is down to a real desire to see momentum gathered by our club on and off the field.
Rangers will be chasing the target of 3 league wins in a row. We only managed this once last season, and Caixinha never found a way to do that in his short spell. Since the defeat to Celtic, we’ve had dressing room unrest, a bruising semi-final defeat, a crazy draw at home which led to the dismissal of the manager, and various injuries and suspensions. Despite all of that, in those five games we’ve only dropped two points, and have made a little dent in the gap at the top. Granted, Celtic have had more difficult matches in that spell. However, if this is a squad that’s been held back so far, there’s reason for optimism.
Hamilton come into the game in somewhat mixed form themselves. Their last result, a draw with Aberdeen, will certainly have given them confidence. They’ve been better away from home so far this season. However, they are a very inconsistent side, and really collapsed in the game against Rangers earlier in the campaign.


Motherwell (Home), 2-1 defeat
Ross County (Away), 2-1 defeat
Partick Thistle (Home), 0-0 draw
Dundee (Away), 3-1 win
Aberdeen (Home), 2-2 draw
To try and flesh out an analysis of their squad, I looked at some stats via Wyscout for Hamilton. As you’d expect, their top scorer this season is Rakish Bingham. What is interesting is that many players average more shots on goal per game than he does. The likes of Docherty and Crawford in midfield are two such examples. Ex-Ger David Templeton seems to have carried on his tendency to shoot from anywhere as well. Hamilton seem to play in a way that allows midfielders to get forward and offer a goal threat.
In the previous match, Hamilton played a 3-5-2. This seems to be their preferred shape this season. They did change this to a 4-5-1 against Aberdeen, though. I expect they’ll do the same against Rangers on Saturday. Ali Crawford is unlikely to be fit, and there’s a chance Bingham will be on the bench to begin with. They may even be reluctant to start Templeton if they aim to be defensive, as he’s not great at tracking the runs from a full-back.
From a Rangers perspective, it’s hard to imagine many changes. Murty will be in charge again, so is likely to stick with a winning team. Players like Dorrans, Wallace and Rossiter aren’t fit. By the time you read this, the press conference will have been held, so there may be more updates on others. There’s a suggestion that Ross McCrorie picked up an injury for the Scotland U21s, and I suspect he’ll be rested either way. If he is, Alves will start, someone I feel should be played regardless. So far, he’s played on the left-hand side of the central defenders, so if he partners Wilson it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts. Both players like to play long diagonals out to the wide men, so that may force Windass to stay wider than usual.


There are suggestions that Carlos Pena refused to play in the testimonial against Berwick. It may be that he was injured, or pulled from the squad to ensure he was fit for Saturday. Hopefully, we’ll find out more in the press conference. Cardoso is just back from injury, so will likely be on the bench at best. Our wide players got a lot of space in the away fixture against Hamilton, and that’s unlikely to be so easily found this time around. Holt has played well upon his return to the team, and his energy and movement will hopefully provide plenty of chances. If Wilson and Alves are looking to hit wide players early, the runs from Tavernier and John beyond the attackers will be key.
In terms of a prediction, I have a feeling we’ll get that third consecutive league win in a routine win. I’m going for 3-0 in this one.
How do you see the game going? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!