Steven Gerrard should shake things up at the back once more and play George Edmundson against Braga as Rangers go in search of a clean sheet in Portugal.

The Gers secured a remarkable 3-2 win over the impressive Primeira Liga side at Ibrox in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie.

Ianis Hagi celebrates his dramatic first-leg winner. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

On Sunday, though, on their return to Premiership action, some extremely poor defending saw two points slip at St Johnstone.

Similar lapses against a much stronger Braga outfit would certainly spell the end of the club’s European run, which is why Gerrard needs to change things up once more.

Under normal circumstances, Filip Helander would be a shoo-in. However, with the Sweden international not yet ready to return from injury, George Edmundson should come in for Nikola Katic.

The 22-year-old is inexperienced and although he made two appearances during the qualifiers, he’s yet to appear in the Europa League proper.

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George Edmundson should get a big Rangers opportunity against Braga. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

However, at a well-built 6ft 3″, he’s certainly physically up to the challenge and while he had a rocky outing on Hamilton’s artificial surface earlier in the month, that’s the only time he’s put a foot wrong in 10 first-team appearances since signing from Oldham in the summer.

It would be a risk to bring him in, but perhaps the lesser of two evils. Retaining Katic after his error-strewn showing at McDiarmid Park would be tempting fate.

 

The 23-year-old doubtless has the tools to be a very good centre-back, and he’s shown the extent of his potential in the past, particularly in the run-up to the winter break.

Yet, while Connor Goldson can’t be absolved of his share of the blame, Katic’s confidence looks shot and he has struggled in multiple different areas of his game in recent times.

Usually so dominant in the air, he struggled against Kilmarnock, Livingston and Saints.

Katic hasn’t looked himself so far in 2020. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, his passing looked particularly shaky on a poor surface in Perth and he lacked composure in his decision-making.

His time will come again but he needs a stint out of the side and in Edmundson, there’s an ambitious young player who’ll be itching for a big opportunity.

If Rangers are to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League they may need to keep a clean sheet in Portugal and right now, it looks as though an all-English centre-back partnership may give them the best chance of that shutout.

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