Heartbreak in the tie-breaker shattered the European dreams of the famous Glasgow Rangers on Wednesday night. The gruelling 2 hours at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán went in vain when Aaron Ramsey’s failed to convert his spot-kick against the Eintracht Frankfurt custodian Kevin Trapp. However, the Gers might still salvage something from this campaign with a win against Hearts tomorrow afternoon.
Although they have little time to recover ahead of the Scottish Cup final, a defeat would leave a bitter taste in the mouth as they have already lost the Premiership crown to bitter rivals Celtic. The Hampden clash, therefore, must motivate the Light Blues to finish the campaign on a high note.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Rangers lineup to Face Hearts
Jon McLaughlin has been preferred between the sticks in the Cup competitions, and he will continue. The custodian must deliver an inspiring display as he would hope to be the No. 1 for Rangers next season.
James Tavernier had a tough time this midweek against the likes of Filip Kostic and Daichi Kamada. But the skipper is expected to exhibit his attacking expertise versus Hearts. Borna Barisic remains a doubt after failing to complete the Frankfurt game, and the gaffer Giovanni van Bronckhorst should opt for Calvin Bassey down the left. Leon Balogun might partner with Connor Goldson in the heart of the backline.
Rangers have ample options in the centre of the pitch, and the manager must rely on John Lundstram and Ryan Jack to dominate the midfield game. They not only form a ‘double pivot’ but also offer flexibility with relentless running, link-up play and ball-winning ability. Glen Kamara, James Sands, Scott Arfield and Steven Davis might get involved at some stage; however, it is highly unlikely for Aaron Ramsey to play again following his midweek shambles.
Joe Aribo has tried his best to attune to various roles. He broke the deadlock in the Europa League final despite featuring as a makeshift ‘False 9’, but the return of Kemar Roofe should see the Nigerian operate from behind.
Scott Wright injects the raw pace and swift movements in the attacking third, something the Gers would require down the right-hand flank. Ryan Kent, too, must shake off the European disappointment and showcase his mastery from the left.
Roofe’s return is a massive boost for Van Bronckhorst, who is in desperate need of an outright ‘number 9′ after Alfredo Morelos’ season-ending injury. Fashion Sakala has not been prolific enough while spearheading the attack, and the Jamaica international should be leading the line against Robbie Neilson’s side.