Finally we can get on with tonight’s huge Europa League match day three clash against Russians Spartak Moscow, in light of all the news going round recently with our club. In this entry, only discussion on the match itself and the build up will be on the menu, so let’s get down to business.
It’s a huge one, a massive chance not only to get some more points on the board, but to extend this stonking European run to 11 games unbeaten, then leaving just the reverse ‘leg’ in Moscow to equalise our all-time record in Europe on this front.
The days leading up to this match have been dogged on the Russians’ part by absolute chaos in their ranks. They fired their manager, Rapid-style, and interim coach Raúl Riancho has left almost his entire first team at home in preference for prioritising next Monday’s league clash with Rubin Kazan.
To say it’s the third European basket case in a row is an understatement – Villarreal resting a lot of their first team for the visit of Rangers, Rapid firing their manager and losing two key players through injury, and now Moscow in their own form of madness having just lost at home to Arsenal Tula as well.
Rangers have a glorious chance to keep their own momentum going against a side who are clearly vulnerable, and who are in evident disarray.
We know Scott Arfield will be missing for this one, and Borna Barisic is a maybe, but is unlikely to start even if fit (although we had Worrall starting and Rossiter on the bench for Sunday so what do we know).
Steven Gerrard has some big calls to make – does Joe Worrall come back in for the currently out of sorts Nikola Katic? Does Ryan Jack start? Will Andy Halliday make way for Jon Flanagan? Will Kyle Lafferty return?
Rangers have been stunning in Europe so far this season, simply stunning. It’s taken our breath away how efficient and effective we have been at this level and long may it continue – it’s given us something to dream of. After only wanting to get past qualifying round one, we now have incredible ambitions of getting to the KO stage and beyond.
Nevertheless, feet on the ground and here’s your Ibrox Noise predicted XI:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Worrall, Flanagan; Jack, Coulibaly, Ejaria; Kent, Morelos, Candeias
The only area of question is left back. Andy Halliday, whether fans like it or not, has become a firm Gerrard favourite lately, and starts far more than he doesn’t. But Flanagan has delivered in Europe by and large and we’ll need our best players for this one. And Stevie loves his rotation, so may opt to give Halliday a rest.
Otherwise, we think that’s pretty close to the XI we’ll see.
Good luck Rangers!