Our league campaign begins with a trip to Fir Park to face Motherwell on Sunday. The kick-off at 130pm will represent the end of what has felt like a long and eventful summer.

Motherwell have won their four games in the League Cup group section leading into the match:

Queens Park (A) – 5-1 win
Morton (H) – 4-0 win
Edinburgh City (A) – 2-1 win
Berwick Rangers (H) – 1-0 win

Louis Moult, the main threat in the Motherwell squad, only started the last of their league cup games, and was substituted on 60 minutes after not looking his sharpest. They also lost Steven Hammell to injury in that game, with Ben Heneghan missing out altogether. Elliot Frear has scored late winners in their last two games, coming off the bench to do so.

The League Cup games don’t seem to give great preparation, as we saw ourselves last season, so it’s hard to know what sort of team manager Stephen Robinson will start with. Motherwell have also had a busy summer in terms of transfers, with a number of players coming in. Players will be at varying levels of fitness and match sharpness, with some still settling in to their new surroundings.

Regardless of that, we know from experience that Fir Park is a difficult place to play. The ground is tight, the atmosphere generally pretty good despite relatively small numbers of home fans. A few of our players may find this sort of game a little bit different to what they’ve experienced over the years. We’ll most likely face a side playing above themselves and intent on making it difficult for us to play. Our results and performances in recent friendlies justifiably raised the excitement levels, but we’ve still to prove that we can break teams down who aren’t going to make it easy for us to do so.

Rangers will be without James Tavernier and Niko Kranjcar due to injury, and Martyn Waghorn through suspension. Our starting line-up will almost certainly be the same as the one we saw at Sheffield:

Foderingham

Hodson
Cardoso
Alves
Wallace

Candeias
Jack
Dorrans
Windass

Miller
Herrera

What has been most noticeable from our friendlies has been our change in attacking approach. We’re far more direct in style, with the defence not reluctant to play longer balls in behind and almost every pass in midfield looking to go forward. Many fans are still concerned about where the goals will come from, so hopefully we’ll get an indication of that in the first few league games. We’re likely to have a lot of the ball, as Motherwell sit in, so we have to be sure not to fall into the trap of playing slowly and making easy passes which kills the tempo. We are far more secure in defence than last season, so more risks can be taken going forward.

With this being the first league game and with so many questions to be answered, there’s not a lot more we can discuss. My prediction is that the game will be tight to begin with, but we’ll win 2-0 fairly comfortably in the end.

What’s your thoughts on the game? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk and we’ll be happy to share them!

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