Rangers face St Joseph’s this evening in a match which really should be a complete stroll. No disrespect to the Gibraltar minnows, but Rangers barely had to be in first gear to get a 4-0 win last time around away from home, and with the Ibrox crowd and home advantage, this is as close to a foregone conclusion as any second leg in European football.
So, what team would we go with to send out onto the hallowed turf?
Well, there needs to be some strength – as modest as St Joseph’s are as opposition, you must always respect your opponent, and with that in mind, we wouldn’t just send out a reserve string.
We’d keep Allan McGregor in goal – unless, that is, Stevie thinks putting Wes in would help both the Englishman’s morale as well as putting him in the shop window.
Back four – Tavernier was showing some signs of life against Marseille, but still wasn’t up to speed yet – and he will have to play without Daniel Candeias too who both isn’t in the UEL squad for this one and is looking a close thing to switching to Turkey’s Premier League. So, we’d keep Tav to get him back to form. But that said, many more of these rusty displays and Matt Polster will certainly been knocking on Stevie’s door asking for a valid shout. We wouldn’t be totally shocked if Polster in fact started this one.
In the middle it’ll be Goldson and Edmundson we think. Stevie isn’t settled on his centreback pairing yet, and still lacks Helander who he has suggested won’t feature till the middle of next month. And the manager has been bouncing between Katic and Eddy in recent times.
On the left, Barisic – still needing games to get his form, but certainly showing really good signs so continuation there is key.
In the middle a little leeway we think. Ryan Jack has been a recent favourite and started a fair few outings, so Stevie will likely stick with him after his assist v Marseille, but Glen Kamara was a bit off-key in the same match and whether that has a bearing on selection we aren’t sure. Andy Halliday will be screaming to start. Steven Davis will definitely get the nod given his relentless form.
There’s also Joe Aribo and Greg Docherty – Aribo looked excellent v Marseille, and Docherty will still want to impress so there’s that to weigh up.
And up top?
On the left we can’t see past Jones linking up with Barisic again, while on the right Jake Hastie may just get his competitive debut – he was included in this squad for a reason, and Ojo’s appearance v Marseille was a little off. So Hastie might just get the nod on the right despite the returning Scott Arfield. In the middle, it’s likely to be Morelos.
So, your Ibrox Noise predicted XI for St Joseph’s:
Foderingham; Polster, Goldson, Edmundson, Barisic; Davis, Jack, Aribo; Hastie, Morelos, Jones
Firth, Tavernier, Katic, Halliday, Kamara, Docherty, Arfield, Ojo, Defoe, Stewart