Sunday afternoon brings an opportunity for the Rangers players to put a disappointing Premiership result behind them, as they take on Celtic in the League Cup Final.
It’s a massive occasion for the club, with the Gers looking to get their hands on silverware after a long and painful wait, while simultaneously stopping Celtic’s quest for a tenth consecutive domestic trophy.
Judging by the social media backlash after the draw at Pittodrie, many Bears would be making changes aplenty for this one.
Yet, while there are some big decisions for Steven Gerrard to make, we don’t foresee wholesale changes.
In fact, we’re predicting just the two.
The defending was atrocious at times on Wednesday night and the manager made no bones about that after the game [Daily Record]. However, having deployed the same centre-back partnership for ten games in a row now, it’s highly unlikely he will make a change ahead of such a big fixture.
Nikola Katic hasn’t started a match since the 1-1 draw against Hearts at Tynecastle on 20 October, while George Edmundson hasn’t been seen since earlier that month against Hamilton.
While it might be tempting, it would be too big a risk to call on either of those players against the Hoops. As we saw with Jon Flanagan’s display at Aberdeen, if players have been out of the fold for some time, it’s difficult to come in and perform right away.
Left-back is the first area where we foresee a change. Borna Barisic has been declared a doubt for the Hampden clash [Daily Record], but if he’s anywhere close to being fit, he’s sure to come back in. This is a massive game worth pushing a niggle for, with the side noticeably lacking balance without him in it. If Barisic is genuinely incapable of playing, though, Flanagan’s struggles at Pittodrie could leave the door ajar for a rare Andy Halliday outing.
Our other change comes in the middle of the park, with Glen Kamara returning to link up with Steven Davis and Ryan Jack. The Finland international is likely to replace Joe Aribo, with Scott Arfield, fresh off his first goal since August, occupying the attacking right slot. It’s clear that Steven Gerrard doesn’t trust Greg Stewart for the big games, while Sheyi Ojo hasn’t done enough recently to warrant a start.
On the left, a fired-up Ryan Kent is sure to be unleashed for his first Old Firm of the season, while there’s no chance Alfredo Morelos is being left out this time around.
Rangers Predicted XI vs Celtic for League Cup Final (N) – 08/12/2019
GK – Allan McGregor
RB – James Tavernier
CB – Connor Goldson
CB – Filip Helander
LB – Borna Barisic
CDM – Glen Kamara
CM – Ryan Jack
CM – Steven Davis
RF – Scott Arfield
LF – Ryan Kent
ST – Alfredo Morelos