Tonight, Rangers face second placed Aberdeen at Ibrox in the first of a season-defining double header. With all the uncertainty going on off the field, and injuries to key players on it, there’s not a lot of confidence from Rangers fans going into the match.
Aberdeen have had a good start to the season, but some recent results have been poor. There was a suggestion they were affected by the speculation surrounding Derek McInnes, but they played well in their last game against Kilmarnock.
ABERDEEN LAST 5 LEAGUE RESULTS:
Celtic (Home), 3-0 defeat
Ross County (Home), 2-1 win
Hamilton (Away), 2-2 draw
Motherwell (Home), 2-0 defeat
Kilmarnock (Away), 3-1 win
With Aberdeen now 6 points clear of Rangers, this game is huge for both teams. Aberdeen have recently brought Considine back into the team at left back, and moved Shinnie back into midfield. Kenny McLean has had some criticism for his form, but he played well at the weekend. They have a lot of options in most areas of the pitch, and it’s not easy to predict their starting side this season. Players like May, Christie and Shinnie are certainties, but many others can be rotated if McInnes feels it’s required.
Despite this, I suspect Aberdeen will play a similar team to the one at the weekend. In Tansey, they have a player who is great with set pieces, and they’ll have a height advantage on the night. A lot of their wide threat will come down their right, with Logan far more attacking at full back than Considine. They’ll see Rangers as a team they can hurt given everything, and in various ways.
For Rangers, the approach is rather simple – win. A good performance or a lucky one, it won’t matter. This game is almost certainly going to have moments where it’s a battle, and we’ve not shown enough in that sort of game of late. The starting team is hampered by injuries, and it’s rumoured that the following will be starting the game:
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PREDICTED LINE UP
There are still doubts over Morelos’ fitness, though. The suggestion is that the team will be lined up in a diamond 4-4-2 formation, with McCrorie shielding the back 4. The return of Alves is huge, as he makes a big difference to our defending and physical strength. It is worth noting that he hasn’t played next to Danny Wilson from the start yet though. If we are playing a narrow formation, the wide areas will be key as Aberdeen have some threat there. We’ll have to win the midfield battle and force their players to play narrow, rather than them stretching us. With Candeias seemingly not playing, Rangers are much weaker on the right than normal.
It’s very rare for Rangers to go into a game at home and not be considered favourites. It would be a real stretch to try and suggest we’re favourites going into tonight though. Aberdeen have more stability, more squad options and more confidence. The Ibrox crowd will be completely swayed by the game, with any sort of bad start sure to result in a horrible atmosphere. Our squad don’t have the mental strength overall to handle the game when things are going poorly. As such, you’d have to say everything points to defeat. However, I just have a feeling we’ll get a strong performance tonight, and win the game 2-1.
How you feeling going into tonight? Any confidence? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!