It seems hardly a week goes by at Rangers now where things are nice and simple. The reaction to the defeat against Motherwell from the fans has been vociferous. What we’ll find out tonight, as we return to league duty, is just how our players intend to react. Pedro has called them out; are they proud enough to show they’re better than Sunday?

That’s just one of the few unknowns going into tonight. Kilmarnock come into the game with a new manager, after recently replacing Lee McCulloch with Steve Clarke. The ex-West Brom and Reading manager is something of a coup for the Ayrshire side. He’s had over a week to get to know his squad. You’d imagine he’ll have been working them hard on the training ground. He’ll be hoping Rangers are nervous and the crowd in negative mood for his first game in charge.


Motherwell (away), 2-0 defeat
Aberdeen (away), 1-1 draw
Dundee (home), 1-1 draw
Ross County (home), 2-0 defeat
Partick Thistle (away), 2-0 win

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their previous manager, there’s a high number of ex-Gers at Kilmarnock. Cammy Bell, Steven Smith, Kirk Broadfoot, Kris Boyd and Chris Burke will all be looking to start and prove a point. Lee Erwin has shown he’s capable at this level in the past, whilst Greg Kiltie is very highly rated. They’ve definitely under achieved this season given the players they have available.

With the new man in charge, it’s difficult to know how Kilmarnock will line up. Their last game and first win of the season was something of a 4-5-1 by all accounts. Clarke has said he won’t look to make too many changes straight away, so it’s possible they’ll go that way again.

For Rangers, despite the disappointment of Sunday, I don’t expect many changes. Foderingham will take his place back in goals, and it looks likely that McCrorie will replace Cardoso due to the broken nose. That aside, I expect the same players to start the game, as Pedro has suggested:







As mentioned earlier, these players have a lot to prove. If they’re as strong in character as Caixinha believes, we will see a reaction. The main frustration from Sunday was the performance, but it would have been excused if we’d taken a couple of those first half chances. Tonight, we’ll need goals and a performance to satisfy some, and many won’t be satisfied regardless. We’re in a situation where that’s going to be the case unless we go on a run of 10 wins in the league, and that would be unlikely. Despite being of the opinion that Caixinha should be given the season, I know that many have made their minds up, and that’s not unjustified.

Tonight, there will be a few key battles in the game:


It wasn’t so long ago that Greer was being included in Scotland squads and considered an important player for Brighton. He’s an experienced defender, and in games where Kilmarnock are set up to defend, he’ll be an asset. As we saw earlier in the season with Berra, these are the sort of defenders who can perform well at this level in these games.

Morelos hasn’t scored since his goal against Partick Thistle. That’s been 5 games (3 league, 2 cup) without a goal, and some of the chances he’s missed have seemed easier to score. All strikers will go through patches like that, but we really need him to find his scoring touch again. We know his link up play and workrate will have an impact on the game either way, but I really want to see that smile on his face again!


There’s a chance neither of these players will start, but I assume both will. We all know about Boyd’s goalscoring threat. Unlike Morelos, when he doesn’t score, he’s not likely to do much else that really marks a game. After his comments regarding Sunday, and his general attitude as to what Scottish football should be about, he’ll be looking to use his size and strength against the inexperienced defender tonight.

McCrorie has impressed in his few appearances so far. A home start in a game we’re expected to win and dominate possession will be another new challenge to learn from. Despite not being the biggest, he does well in physical challenges in the main. This will be his first start next to Alves, so it’ll be interesting to see how they link up.


Tonight, the referee is Alan Muir. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any incidents involving him in any games this season that have been highlighted. After the weekend, and previous games where refereeing mistakes have had an impact upon the performance, the crowd will be even less patient towards the officials.

That can go two ways. Even a decision that’s correct will draw criticism in the heat of the moment. In our three domestic defeats this season, we’ve been highly critical of the referee early in the game. In none of those games did said pressure seem to make them more sympathetic towards us. For years, referees have been accused of letting the Ibrox crowd influence them. I suspect we’re seeing the reverse of that now as they try to prove they’re stronger than that.

In terms of a prediction, I think Rangers will react well, but the game will be made difficult by a Kilmarnock team intent on keeping the score down. I’ll go for 2-0 to Rangers.

What’s your thoughts on tonight? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!