Rangers might have lost the rhythm in the Premiership, but their incredible European run deserves accolades following Thursday night’s stellar 3-1 victory against Braga. They overcame the 1-0 deficit from the first leg fixture and sealed a triumph in extra time to secure a Europa League semifinal berth. While the fans must be relishing the opportunity of clashing heads with mighty RB Leipzig later this month, the Gers have some unfinished business at home after successive league defeats against Celtic under Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
These Old Firm rivals will lock horns once again on Sunday afternoon in an epic Scottish Cup semifinal encounter at Hampden Park. The players might feel fatigued after a gruelling 120 minutes of football just a couple of days back. However, the bad blood between these two sides should drive them this weekend en route to conquering domestic silverware.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Rangers Lineup To Face Celtic
Veteran Allan McGregor had a nervy occasion in their 2-1 defeat earlier this month. But his experience between the sticks would be crucial in this fascinating fixture.
Skipper James Tavernier led from the front as he scored twice against the Portuguese side to set the comeback in motion. Connor Goldson must maintain his composure and resilience in the heart of the backline, and so should Leon Balogun, who is likely to pair up with the Englishman amid the injury absence of Filip Helander and Borna Barisic. The latter revived his form in recent games, but an injury against Braga might keep him sidelined for the upcoming contest. Calvin Bassey should operate as a left fullback in his absence.
Rangers are well equipped in the centre of the pitch and the gaffer must decide on whether to rotate his options for the weekend tie. John Lundstram and Ryan Jack are in fine form but, at the same time, might feel worn out in the aftermath of a majestic European night. Although the Light Blues have Glen Kamara, James Sands and Steven Davis capable of featuring as deep-lying playmakers, both Jack and Lundstram are irreplaceable in the middle of the park.
Joe Aribo has recovered from a rough run and should continue as a midfield attacker. Aaron Ramsey has settled in after a slow start and his flexibility might see him switching position with Aribo on the right-hand flank. Ryan Kent, down the left, must exhibit his excellence with swift footwork, pace, flair and directness.
Despite a few missed opportunities, Kemar Roofe scored the decisive extra-time winner on Thursday night. His form high up the pitch is relieving, particularly after Alfredo Morelos’ season-ending injury picked up while on international duty with Colombia.