After Kyle Lafferty finally returned home Rangers fans will be desperate to see the lanky striker turn out at Ibrox again. But the might need to wait for a return to the Rangers starting XI.
At least until the second half.
Lafferty is match fit and raring to go and there’s probably no better game for him to make his comeback than this big European tie.
Rangers are the favourites to topple Ufa over the two legs but face a daunting 6000-mile return trip in the return leg. It’s also only three days before the season’s first Old Firm match.
With that in mind, Steven Gerrard and co. will be looking to put this match to bed early on. Expect Rangers, buoyed by a raucous support, to come out the traps.
Also expect Steven Gerrard to name a full strength first XI against the Russians. Coulibaly is out, As is Jamie Murphy. Barisic remains cup-tied, but Lafferty will have a place on the bench.
Here’s my prediction for the Rangers starting XI.
Strongest foot forward – Rangers best available XI starts
GK – MCGREGOR
RB – TAVERNIER
CB – KATIC
CB – GOLDSON
LB – FLANAGAN
CDM – JACK
CM – ARFIELD
CM – EJARIA
RW – CANDEIAS
ST – MORELOS
LW – KENT
Will this be a comfortable result for Rangers?
Some will say I’m being bold here but playing it safe I fancy Rangers -2.
The team should come out the traps and I think against a stuttering, tired Ufa side, they’ll have too much. The fact they will want to get this tie over at Ibrox is also huge, so I’m expecting goals. It’s not being cocky either. Rangers will be professional and FC Ufa seem lacklustre. They’re coming off the back of a 3-0 hiding at home (although they did rest 6 players) and struggled against Progres.
No irony please.
Push me for a result and I’ll say 3-0.
I also think Morelos is nailed on to score.