Rangers return to Scottish Premiership action on Friday night by travelling to face a St Johnstone side that are level with them on 14 points. The match, which kicks off at 7:45 and will be shown live on BT Sport 1, represents a tough test for Pedro Caixinha’s men.
The build-up has not been without controversy. The Portuguese drew criticism from opposition striker Steven MacLean for stylistically comparing The Saints with Greenock Morton, who his team played in an international break friendly. He also stated that he believed a mole leaked his line-up to the opposition in the same fixture last season.
“We train all the time 10 o’clock. Last season we train 10 o’clock the day before the match. Normally in that day, sometimes we might know the first XI,” he said.
“Do you know what time St Johnstone trained that day? Afterwards. You know why? Because of the leaks, expecting to know our XI to train after they know it.”
Caixinha banished Kenny Miller from the side recently, prompting speculation that the Scottish forward had been identified as the mole in question. However, Rangers didn’t seem to miss him in the 4-1 win over Hamilton Academical.
They will now also be able to call upon Bruno Alves, Danny Wilson and Niko Kranjčar again after the trio returned from spells out through injury. Only the former would be expected to start if 100 per cent, with Fábio Cardoso and Josh Windass potentially keeping the other two on the substitutes’ bench.
Left-back and club captain Lee Wallace remains out with a groin problem; he is expected to return next month. In the meantime, Declan John, who has impressed since joining on loan from Cardiff City, should take his spot in the back four alongside young Ross McCrorie, Cardoso and James Tavernier.
They will be protected by a central midfield duet of Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack, and backed up by shot-stopper Wes Foderingham.
Rangers will be tempted to stick with the same rough shape and personnel that earned them their win over Hamilton, though there may be some tweaks.
McCrorie will probably only start if Alves is not at top fitness, while Carlos Peña’s place behind top scorer Alfredo Morelos could be taken by Eduardo Herrera should a move from 4-4-1-1 to 4-4-2 be desired.
Now use our Predicted Line-ups feature at the top of the page to pick and share the side you would select if you were Caixinha.
Our unique algorithm has predicted the XI it believes is most likely to start, but you can also give it a go yourself. Just click “create your own” and pick the players you would choose, and you can also see their stats per 90 minutes once you’ve picked them.
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