Rangers lost to Hibernian in the League Cup semifinal following Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s appointment as Steven Gerrard’s successor, but the Dutchman has turned things around immediately by scripting successive wins against Sparta Prague and Livingston. He was not eligible to be in the dugout for the Hibs tie, however, his presence on Wednesday night would motivate the Gers to seek revenge at Easter Road in a crucial Premiership encounter.
Despite progressing to the League Cup final, the Edinburgh side were undergoing a dreadful league run until last weekend when they secured a late comeback against ten-man St Johnstone to clinch an edgy 2-1 win. The reverse tie at Ibrox finished 2-1 in favour of the Gers and the champions of Scotland must aim for all three points to maintain their supremacy over Celtic at the top of the standings.
Predicted 4-3-3 Rangers Lineup To Face Hibernian
Allan McGregor has cemented his ‘number 1’ role after being rotated alongside Jon McLaughlin early into the campaign. He has been majestic in recent games and the gaffer is expected to rely on his experience and expertise between the sticks for the upcoming contest.
Leon Balogun remains sidelined since being forced to leave the pitch versus Hibernian in the League Cup fixture. But the emergence of Calvin Bassey is encouraging given resilience and composure alongside Connor Goldson in the heart of the backline. The latter has not been in the best of form amid the ongoing contract conundrum and his loss of concentration might trouble Rangers with Filip Helander still recovering from a knee injury suffered more than a couple of months back. Skipper James Tavernier must retain his right-back role following two assists on the weekend, whereas Borna Barisic is likely to operate from the left even though he has been below par of late.
Bronckhorst has ample midfield options in his armoury, but the decision of restoring Scott Arfield in the middle of the park proved to be a masterstroke versus Livi. Steven Davis was rested on Sunday afternoon and the versatile Canada international grabbed the opportunity by finding the net in early minutes. He must feature in a box to box role and exhibit his versatility once again from the centre of the pitch, also the mobility and work ethic of Joe Aribo would allow flexibility in terms of tweaking the set-up and adding variation in midfield. Glen Kamara should be deployed at the base as he holds the vision and technicality to orchestrate the show from the deep.
Ryan Kent would keep on causing menace from the left with his pace, power and prowess. Ianis Hagi is expected to occupy the right-wing slot and the sharpness of Alfredo Morelos as an outright ‘number 9’ might make the difference, similar to the previous league meeting back in October. Kemar Roofe remains uncertain due to fitness reasons, but the manager has Fashion Sakala, Scott Wright and Jermain Defoe as alternatives who are well capable of being ‘super subs’ if called into action.