Although the ambience will be hostile in The Rajko Mitić Stadium, Rangers should show their grit and determination against Red Star Belgrade and defend the 3-0 lead in this Europa League Round of 16’s return leg fixture. The Gers have a foot in the quarterfinals of this prestigious competition, but the Serbians would not give up without a fight after a spirited show at Ibrox.
Red Star Belgrade saw three goals ruled out due to marginal offside calls. Veteran Aleksandar Katai had his spot-kick saved by Allan McGregor, whereas a stellar strike from Guelor Kanga got denied by the woodwork. Rangers converted their opportunities last midweek and they must do so once more on Thursday night.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Rangers Lineup To Face Red Star Belgrade
Despite being criticized for a few erroneous outings, 40-year-old Allan McGregor was the saviour when these two sides locked horns in the first leg meeting. He would be tested frequently between the sticks in the upcoming contest and therefore, must deliver another majestic display to progress to the next round.
Skipper James Tavernier has been exquisite down the right with his overlapping runs, crosses and expertise from set-piece situations. Calvin Bassey is the preferred left-back option over Borna Barisic and manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is likely to bank on his energy once again over the Croatian’s experience. Leon Balogun was rested against Dundee over the weekend but is expected to return to the starting XI and partner with Connor Goldson in the heart of the backline.
Rangers are sweating over John Lundstram’s fitness as the central midfielder missed the Dundee game due to an ankle sprain. Glen Kamara would slot in alongside Ryan Jack as the double pivot in case the in-form Englishman fails to recover in time.
Ryan Jack had a knock versus the Dee but is tipped to be fit for their trip to Belgrade. He was a constant threat down the left last Thursday and the home side must do better to nullify his wing-play. Scott Arfield is also an injury doubt, but the availability of Aaron Ramsey is a significant boost following an impressive performance in the Scottish Cup quarterfinal. Joe Aribo should operate as a wide midfielder exhibiting his versatility in the middle of the park.
Alfredo Morelos continues his impressive European form with 32 Europa League goals. Only Henrik Larsson (40) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (34) are ahead of him in the all-time top scorers’ (including qualifying rounds) list in this competition’s history.