Thursday night at midnight, Rangers will play the first of their Florida Cup matches against Atletico Mineiro of Brazil. The tournament represents a chance for players to get some time on the pitch in this winter break, and get away from the poor weather in Scotland.
Reports last week suggested that Mineiro would be bringing a young squad to this tournament. It would seem that their first team is in pre-season training at the moment. As such, I suspect the team Rangers will start with will include plenty of young players and those on the fringes of the squad. New signings Goss and Murphy will be keen to be involved. However, they haven’t played much all season, so they’ll have to be managed in many respects.
Given that the games are friendlies, there’s a good chance they won’t be great to watch. Some players will be hoping to impress, and none more so than Halliday and O’Halloran. With both loaned out due to not being rated by Caixinha, they will see this as a real chance to prove people wrong.
With only 42 hours between the 2 games, it’s hard to predict the line up and approach. Training has been double sessions, and there’s obviously the conditions to consider as well. Murty has confirmed that Ryan Jack and Ross McCrorie won’t play due to injury. Barjonas was also mentioned as someone who is struggling a little. With that news in mind, and the nature of the Mineiro squad, my prediction for the starting team is the following:
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UP
Of course, this is total guesswork! I suspect Murphy will play a small part, and that most of the first team will be kept for the second match. If this is the sort of team that starts, it’ll be interesting to see how Atakayi performs. He’s been doing well at U20 level for a while, but not made that push into the first team. A good performance in these games would help him get that chance.
With the awkward kick-off time for British viewers, it’s worth noting that the game will be replayed on Freesports at 830am on Friday. In terms of a score prediction, I’m going to go for 1-0 Rangers in a rather slow-paced match.
How do you see the game going? Are you going to watch it live? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!