Unless Rangers secure Ridvan Yilmaz and get him match fit by Saturday, yesterday’s starting lineup is 99% the one that will travel to Belgium (and the Tony Macaroni) to begin the season.
Gio appears to have installed Allan McGregor back as number one, after flirting with giving Jon McLaughlin a shot.
Indeed, the number two would have taken his place on the bench for this one as a bit of a statement that McGregor is the man Rangers will turn to for the matches which matter. And that makes him number one.
But in terms of the rest of the XI, the only players who didn’t start and who will expect to still be a major part of the group are Morelos, Davies, Jack and incoming Yilmaz.
We are hesitant to include Alex Lowry – he’s both building himself up for a physical overhaul, and recovering from injury, plus we don’t actually know the importance with which Gio holds him.
Plus we’ve signed Malik Tillman for competition in that slot, while also apparently going with Tom Lawrence as the main option there yesterday.
There’s also Ben Davies who we expect to make a big impact at the back, but he’s not quite fit yet. We anticipate him being the main left footed CB next to Mr Untouchable.
The likes of Lowry, Fashion Sakala, Steven Davis, Scott Wright, Niko Katic, Mateusz Zukowski, Ianis Hagi, Filip Helander, Kemar Roofe… either injured, fringe, surplus or expected to leave. Don’t count them all out, but in the here and now, they’re not part of the immediate serious picture to start the season.
Gio 99% picked his XI yesterday for the next two matches, injuries and signings notwithstanding.
So that’s McGregor in goal, back four of Tavernier, Goldson, Davies/Souttar, Yilmaz; Lundstram, Kamara, Lawrence; Kent, Colak, Matondo.
Of course, there’s Tillman maybe over Lawrence, or Jack over Kamara… you name it.
There are options.
But the point is the manager has likely put in a dress rehearsal for the bulk of how he wants to start the new campaign off.
We anticipate Livi with excitement.