Well, there’s plenty to discuss! In truth, the Caixinha dismissal needs an article of its own. This one will look at the upcoming game and the immediate challenge.
After Pedro’s dismissal yesterday, we face Hearts in the early kick off on Saturday. Graeme Murty will take charge of a squad depleted by suspension and injury, with all eyes on yet another Rangers saga unfolding.
Given our recent form and squad issues, it’s hard to argue that we should win this game. Hearts haven’t been great, but they have decent players throughout the squad. They’ll be up for the game, and be looking to expose any weakness we have with everything that’s going on.
HEARTS RECENT FORM – LAST 5 LEAGUE FIXTURES:
Partick Thistle (Away), 1-1 draw
Dundee (Away), 2-1 defeat
Ross County (Away), 2-1 win
St Johnstone (Home), 1-0 win
Hibernian (Away), 1-0 defeat
When we faced Hearts at Ibrox, they played for the draw. This time around, I suspect they’ll play more adventurous football. We know that players like Lafferty, Walker and Isma are dangerous when on their game. Christophe Berra has played well for them and offers ability and experience in defence. Cowie and Djoum are good players in midfield, an area of the park where Rangers will be struggling for players. This is a Hearts squad playing better under Levein than Cathro could manage.
For Rangers, with managerial changes and multiple players being out, it’s difficult to predict the team. I suspect Kenny Miller will be brought back in, and it’ll be interesting to see how other players react to him. Without Alves and Jack, with Dorrans unlikely to make it as well, Miller will at least offer experience and leadership when it’s most required. It’s hard to imagine that Cardoso and Pena will come back in due to their injuries. It’s a stretched squad, and I believe we’ll start with the following team:
PREDICTED LINE UP
There’s still plenty there to see us do well, but confidence is low and there’s not been any time to work on that in training. There would be only 2 players in that starting XI signed by Caixinha, and Morelos was more of a suggestion by Johansson than a player who came due to him being here. It would avoid the “how will Caixinha’s players react?” issue as best we can for a week until that becomes clearer.
MORE RANGERS STORIES
We discussed key battles in the preview for the last game against Hearts. My guess at the starting side is very much based upon limited knowledge right now. Due to that, I’ll give the key battles a miss this time. Like most games, it’s going to require a good performance from as many players as possible anyway.
Just one little thing I’d like to add though. Tomorrow, if Daniel Candeias or Eduardo Herrera play, the two players most identified as Pedro signings as he’d worked with them before, and they don’t play well, I’d hope we don’t accuse them of not trying. This is a team struggling to play well overall. The amount of injuries coupled with suspensions make it a difficult match. It would be easy for a player to struggle in this one, so any judgement on their attitude should be delayed for a while. These days, we can all be prone to a bit of quick judgement due to limited patience and concentration levels.
I guess I have to make a prediction. I’m supposed to be the positive guy, but I’m downbeat about this one. I just think everything combined will go against us, and we’ll lose 2-1. Hopefully, I’m very wrong…
How do you see the game going? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!