Rangers will travel to Parkhead this Saturday to face league leaders Celtic in a much anticipated Old Firm Derby. One of the fiercest rivalries in world football, this blockbuster fixture was something the Premiership had been missing for four long years since Rangers’ liquidation. Rangers are back in the first tier now after three promotions in four years and will be looking to dethrone Celtic from their domestic monopoly but that won’t be an easy task for Warburton’s side.
Celtic have real momentum heading into the game having managed Champions League qualification already and starting their Premiership campaign in the best possible manner. Celtic have been scoring for fun this season and are on the back of a 4-1 win against last season’s runners-up Aberdeen. So, on paper, the Hoops are pretty much the favourites and Warburton must come up with a formula to stop the Hoops.
Switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 with double pivot
Rangers are not the best side defensively and have kept on leaking goals through their porous defence. Considering the form that the likes of Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair are in, Rangers must improve defensively in order to stop them.
Rangers have played 4-3-3 so far this season and only one defensive midfielder has failed to offer the defensive screen the back four need. A two-man double pivot is something Warburton should consider against Celtic. Joey Barton would be an obvious choice in the two-man midfield pivot and I would go for Jordan Rossiter alongside him due to the youngster’s mobility and range of passing.
Niko Kranjcar is an out and out number ten and has been struggling in his defensive duties. The Croat’s best will come in a more attacking advanced playmaker role where he can unlock Celtic defence with his vision and movements. With Rossiter and Barton staying behind him, Kranjcar will have more freedom and unlock the Celtic defence.
Martyn Waghorn is back from injury but I would start him on the right flank rather than a solitary number nine and go for experienced Kenny Miller. Waghorn loves to make things happen from deep and his movement will create space for Tavernier to exploit on the right.
I would go for Harry Forrester ahead of McKay on the left as the 25-year-old is more direct, creative and is more versatile. With Forrester in the starting lineup, Warburton could switch his tactics (to 4-4-2 or 4-3-3) during the game if needed.
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