Rangers are preparing to welcome Hearts to Ibrox this weekend in the Scottish Premiership as the Gers look to halt the Jambos’ unbeaten start to the season.
Robbie Neilson’s side are the final top-tier side to suffer defeat this campaign and Rangers know if they can inflict this on the Edinburgh side they’ll open a four-point gap over their rivals.
It’s an enticing prospect for Rangers even at this early stage of the season and the Gers go into the match off the back of a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the other Edinburgh side Hibernian.
Hearts – newly promoted from the Championship this season – have already taken Celtic’s scalp this season and will be heading to a full Ibrox full of confidence.
Rangers are not without their injury issues heading into the match with the Gorgie side.
Steven Gerrard’s team are without Filip Helander after knee surgery, whilst Leon Balogun is “expected” to be fit for the match.
“Expected” being the key word.
We’re backing Leon to make the match with Allan McGregor in goal behind him and Connor Goldson partnering him in defence.
At right-back, Steven Gerrard has a genuine dilemma between Ibrox captain James Tavernier and emerging talent Nathan Patterson.
Patterson was preferred against Hibs but we’re backing Tavernier to return against Hearts, with Borna Barisic retaining his spot at left-back.
In midfield, Ryan Jack remains on the sidelines and after the international break, we reckon Steven Davis might get a breather with one eye on Brondby in the Europa League.
Our midfield three of John Lundstram, Joe Aribo and Glen Kamara should have enough about them in Glasgow.
Up top, Rangers striker Kemar Roofe faces a race against time to get back into the country with conflicting reports regarding his availability for the match.
Rangers insiders Heart & Hand insist that the player should be available but we reckon even if that is the case, Gerrard might opt elsewhere for this clash with Kemar on the bench.
The talismanic Ryan Kent remains on the sidelines and it is not clear if the player will return, so we’ll back Fashion Sakala to make the starting XI alongside Alfredo Morelos and Ianis Hagi.
Rangers predicted XI v Hearts – Rangers 4-3-3
GK – Allan McGregor
DR – James Tavernier
DC – Connor Goldson
DC – Leon Balogun
DL – Borna Barisic
CDM – John Lundstram
CM – Glen Kamara
CM – Joe Aribo
RF – Ianis Hagi
LF – Fashion Sakala
ST – Alfredo Morelos