Celtic might be flawless in recent months, but the resurgence of Rangers under Michael Beale deserves a lot of accolades and appreciation. They have made it to the League Cup final, also the unbeaten Premiership run post-winter break puts them on par with their bitters rivals. The confidence must be sky-high in the Light Blues camp ahead of hosting Partick Thistle on Sunday afternoon.
These two sides will lock horns for the Scottish Cup 5th Round fixture. The Jags, fighting for a top-flight return, have a mountain to climb to script an upset at Ibrox. However, the Gers must not be complacent and should maintain their professionalism to make it to the quarter-finals.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Rangers Lineup To Face Partick Thistle
Rangers have a genuine crisis between the sticks with both Allan McGregor and Jon McLaughlin struggling to show consistency. But the gaffer should opt for McGregor who is still going strong at 41. Robby McCrorie is a forgotten figure, failing to stake a claim in Beale’s plans.
James Tavernier is irreplaceable down the right for his energy and attacking expertise. He must make marauding runs and cause menace in the visitors’ half with pinpoint crosses, cut-insides and set pieces. Connor Goldson and Ben Davies have emerged as the first-choice central defensive pairing amid the long-term injury absence of John Souttar and Filip Helander. Left fullback Borna Barisic has exhibited his mastery in recent games after a few dreadful outings. Ridvan Yilmaz will be sidelined for another three weeks as revealed by the English boss.
John Lundstram is ruled out after suffering an injury against Ross County. Glen Kamara should return to the starting XI and partner with the exciting winter recruit Nicolas Raskin to form a ‘double pivot’. Ryan Jack could be introduced as a second-half substitute, and so could be James Sands who has been deployed sporadically since Beale’s appointment as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s successor.
Tom Lawrence is still nursing his knee injury, but the Gers have bolstered themselves by roping in Todd Cantwell from Norwich City. He needs a run of games to attune to the aggression of Scottish football, and therefore, is expected to operate from the right-hand flank. Malik Tillman has been excellent as a ‘number 10’, also the managerial alteration has benefitted Ryan Kent on the left. Fashion Sakala and Scott Wright should remain among the substitutes with a view to making an impression at a later stage.
Alfredo Morelos has regained his starting status high up the pitch, but the Colombian might make way for Antonio Colak who is waiting for his opportunities since regaining full fitness. Kemar Roofe is back in training, but the Cup tie would be too soon for the Jamaica international.