It was a dream start for Philippe Clement on Saturday afternoon when he guided Rangers towards a commanding 4-0 win against Hibernian. But a tougher test awaits on Thursday night when they will travel to Czechia to lock horns with Sparta Prague for the upcoming Europa League group stage encounter.
The Light Blues clinched an edgy win against Real Betis but endured a shocking defeat versus Aris Limassol in the previous outing. All four sides are on three points leaving the group wide open for a qualification in the knockouts. The tie in Prague would not be a stroll in the park, but the revamped Rangers must go for it irrespective of form and fitness concerns.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Rangers Lineup To Face Sparta Prague
Despite a difficult start to life in Glasgow, Jack Butland remains the ‘number 1’ choice between the sticks ahead of Robby McCrorie. The Englishman must deliver a stellar performance against the Czech outfit and help his side clinch a result at Letná.
Skipper James Tavernier must balance his game between defence and attack while featuring from the right. With Ridvan Yilmaz omitted from the Europa League squad earlier this campaign, an injury to Borna Barisic last weekend leaves them with no specialist left fullback for this game. Ben Davies should slot in as a makeshift this midweek after losing his central defensive status to John Souttar recently. Connor Goldson remains irreplaceable for his experience and expertise in the heart of the backline.
The Belgian gaffer is expected to rely on his compatriot Nicolas Raskin as a ‘double pivot’ alongside John Lundstram deep down the midfield. The latter should get the nod over Ryan Jack with Jose Cifuentes still recovering from a knee strain that kept him out of the Hibs game.
The injury absence of Rabbi Matondo and Tom Lawrence is a massive blow for the Gers in and around the attacking third. However, Abdallah Sima has stepped in exquisitely with 9 goals so far across competitions. He is likely to feature from the left but, at the same time, could switch flanks exhibiting his flexibility during the game. Todd Cantwell might grab a start ahead of Scott Wright. Meanwhile, Sam Lammers could retain his ‘number 10’ status after showing signs of improvement versus Hibernian.
The return of Danilo is a massive boost for the Glasgow giants. Yet the gaffer is tipped to rely on Cyriel Dessers to spearhead the attack. Besides Danilo, Kemar Roofe could also be involved as a ‘super sub’ in the second half.