Rangers, a rejuvenated force under Steven Gerrard, are smelling their first silverware after years of misfortune. They have enjoyed appreciable inception so far in all competitions and a win over Aberdeen on Sunday afternoon would take them one step closer to glory. This League Cup semi-final fixture is scheduled on Sunday afternoon when these two Scottish giants will clash heads at Hampden Park.
They have already met once earlier this term in a Premiership tie at Pittodrie where ten-man Rangers were denied a victory following a stoppage-time equaliser from Dons youngster Bruce Anderson. Derek McInnes’ men, runners-up in the league last season, are not enjoying a productive run so far but are hoping to salvage something against Gerrard’s juggernaut to turn their fortunes around.
Gerrard, the former Liverpool and England midfield icon will have a selection headache amid several absentees. In-form Alfredo Morelos is suspended having picked up his second booking against Ayr United in the previous round whereas Kyle Lafferty, the other centre-forward option, is ineligible to feature having represented Hearts in an earlier round before completing a summer switch.
Veteran Lee Wallace and Gareth McAuley are unlikely to be involved due to fitness reasons so are left-back Borna Barisic (muscle) and midfield general Graham Dorrans (knee). Jamie Murphy is set to remain sidelined for the entire season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Kilmarnock in a previous round. However, star midfielder Scott Arfield has an outside chance of making it to the squad if declared fit prior to the contest.
The Dons, too, have a few injury concerns with Greg Tansey (groin) still suffering through his injury misfortune. Mark Reynolds and Tommie Hoban are ruled out with long-term knee problems whereas youngster Frank Ross is missing due to a back problem.
The gaffer, meanwhile, has been handed a significant boost as Niall McGinn, Stevie May and Scott Wright have made good recovery of late and are expected to be in contention after coming off the bench against Hearts last week. Scott McKenna is back too after serving an SFA ban that ruled him out of Aberdeen’s last two league games.
Wes Foderingham; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic, Jon Flanagan; Ovie Ejaria, Lassana Coulibaly, Scott Arfield; Daniel Candeias, Ryan Kent, Eros Grezda.
Joe Lewis; Shaleum Logan, Michael Devlin, Scott McKenna, Max Lowe; Niall McGinn, Lewis Ferguson, Graeme Shinnie, Gary Mackay-Steven; James Wilson, Scott Wright.
Rangers might find it hard in front of goal in the absence of Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty. However, skipper James Tavernier will be a constant threat down the right flank with his overlapping runs, crosses and stunning set-piece traits. Ryan Kent, too, is in blistering form and will terrorise the Dons backline from the left-hand flank.
James Wilson, the Manchester United loanee has not hit the best form, but his presence high up the pitch will be a threat for the Gers backline. The experience of Gary Mackay-Steven down the wing will be crucial for the Dons whereas the overlapping runs of Shaleum Logan might cause trouble for the Glasgow giants.
Rangers win – 5/6
Draw (Reach Extra-time) – 5/2
Aberdeen win – 10/3