It’s only a matter of hours now until our historic Uefa Europa League clash resumes in Glasgow and while we might not be certain until the last minute as to what players Gio will have at his disposal, one thing is for sure – tonight he MUST go with QUALITY over any other attribute.
Clearly it doesn’t take an expert to see that playing Scott Wright was an error last week. Sure, you can see the intention – going for pace, which Wright has in abundance, but so do gazelles but you wouldn’t pluck one of them out of the African Bush, put it in a Rangers shirt and start it in the false 9 position away to Leipzig in a Europa League Semi Final. Although on hindsight, it might have taken a few less poor touches than Scotty did last Thursday.
Sakala is another one. For all he’ll pop up with a goal like Sunday (eventually), the consistency just isn’t there and like Wright, he probably doesn’t possess the quality in his game to make the kind of sustained impact on a game of this magnitude, against opponents of this calibre.
So who DO we go with then? Well a semi fit (as opposed to fully “Semi” fit) Kemar Roofe or Aaron Ramsey are far better equipped for this type of occasion. Even if we got 45-60 minutes out of them, we’re going to have to play the Rangers way, high intensity, quick passing and creating space where space doesn’t exist.
Not only do we need a focal point in Kemar Roofe (Aribo as a backup), the midfield needs to be absolutely stellar tonight. Nobody would argue with Jacko and new fan favourite Lundstram at the heart of that (in fact I’d turn the TV off if they weren’t both in from the start) one name that simply cannot be overlooked is Steven Davis.
We’re talking quality here and Davo is quite simply a Rolls-Royce. Whether he’s 27, 37 or 47 – in and out of possession of the football, he’s exceptional. Rangers enjoyed just 35% possession of the football last week and although we’ll be hoping for significantly more this evening, it only matters if we use it effectively and on his day, there’s nobody that can influence a game of football from our midfield more than Football Writers’ Player of the Year for 2020/21 – Steven Davis MBE.
There’s perhaps even a shout for Diallo and Lowry to be given an opportunity tonight. They’re certainly just as equipped to contribute to a game of this magnitude as Wright or Sakala, but that’s a debate for another time, and one for the manager to decide. As of course is the entire selection tonight, however the point remains that we need quality in every area of the park to stand a chance. Add to that mix our fair share of luck and a certain Mr Bell looking down on us and just maybe we can make it to Seville!