Rangers have already conquered the coveted Premiership crown after years of despair and are now closing in on the prestigious Scottish Cup silverware having knocked Celtic out in the fourth round fixture. They are set to host St. Johnstone on Sunday evening and the quarterfinal tie at Ibrox is tipped to be highly contested following the Saints’ success in this season’s League Cup competition.
Callum Davidson’s men have already showcased the expertise in their midweek meeting. They fought until the final whistle and secured a draw against the Glasgow Rangers when an injury-time spot-kick was calmly converted by Liam Craig. Although it has been a dead rubber league game that allowed Steven Gerrard to rest an array of his first-team stars, the intent exhibited by St. Johnstone must have put the Ibrox chief under a bit of pressure.
The Bears would dominate possession like they usually do but, at the same time, might rely on the wide attackers to stretch the Saints’ defensive shape. There would be bodies inside the box, and they might opt for the long-ball strategy along with their slick passing movements to create space in and around the attacking third. It is to be seen now whether the visitors sit back and stage counter-attacks or respond to Rangers’ holding game by pressing and forcing them to make mistakes in the middle of the park.
The Perth-based outfit are well organized at the back. But they are way different from the other deep-defensive sides and follow a constructive gameplan while threatening the opponents against the run. The transition is really quick and the moves are thoroughly unpredictable despite limitations high up the pitch.
The SFA have stood by their six-match ban which would see Nathan Patterson, Bongani Zungu and Calvin Bassey missing out on the remainder of the campaign. Ryan Jack requires calf operation and is ruled out for the Euro 2020 as well. Nikola Katic is still recovering from a horrific ACL injury and therefore, won’t return to action prior to the 2021-22 season.
Rangers Predicted XI
Allan McGregor; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Filip Helander, Borna Barisic; Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield; Joe Aribo, Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos.
The visitors would be without veteran midfield ace Murray Davidson due to a calf strain. Glenn Middleton, on loan from Rangers, is ineligible to feature against his parent club.
St. Johnstone Predicted XI
Zender Clark; Jason Kerr, Liam Gordon, Jamie McCart, Shaun Rooney, Liam Craig, Alistair McCann, Callum Booth; David Wotherspoon; Stevie May, Christopher Kane.
Rangers are well-equipped all over the pitch, yet the playmaking of Steven Davis would be crucial in terms of orchestrating the show and dictating the tempo from the middle of the park. The aggression of Ryan Kent and the poaching traits of Alfredo Morelos would keep the Saints defence on their toes all throughout the contest.
Liam Craig must be upbeat after denying the Gers a midweek victory. The creative spark of David Wotherspoon and the presence of Stevie May upfront might stun the Scottish champions in their road to Cup glory.
The bookies have put Rangers at 1.35 to emerge as the winners. A draw has been listed at 5 (before ET) and the Saints are at 6.50 to clinch a victory.