There’s no sugar coating it, we’re in a pretty miserable place right now. With the injury list continuing to grow, make no mistake, Hearts will fancy their chances tonight, and let’s be honest, most Rangers fans will also fancy Hearts’ chances as well.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with it, clearly Gio and his team are on a very shoogly peg, with the prospect of the brass tack more and more imminent, as woeful results continue. Some say that his hands are tied and that he can only work with the players he has, who themselves, aren’t performing to anywhere near the standard they should be.
With that in mind though, regardless of injuries, we should be able to select an eleven capable of beating St Johnstone and Livingston with relative ease. So, who should be selected tonight, in a game that not only has the potential to hammer a final nail into our coffin in the pursuit of 56 this season, but also leave Gio with a lot of free time on his hands for the foreseeable future.
Firstly, our defence has been nowhere near good enough. It has become apparent in the last month or so, just how badly we miss Goldson, and we’re beginning to understand why he WAS “un-droppable” all along. The fans wanted to see young King given his chance, and while he’s been on a steep learning curve, it’s perhaps time to give him a rest and revert to the only other viable option at the moment – Sands partnering Davies, with Tav and Borna completing the back 4. That said, after a brief renaissance from Mr McGregor, having rightfully regained his place from McLaughlin, our number 1 hasn’t been brilliant in recent weeks, and in resting one youngster in Leon King, surely now the time is right for McCrorie to be handed the gloves?
Moving on to midfield and if we are to assume that Alex Lowry isn’t available, in terms of picking players who give 100%, there’s no doubt that we should go Lunny and Arfield in the middle, with Matondo on the right and Kent on the left. Kent is an interesting one, for all that he lacks end product in the final third, there is no shortage of effort and while some fans will disagree, he’s still the most technically gifted player we have in the wide areas. Certainly preferable to Sakala and Wright, in fact, you could offer me to play with a starting 12 including them both and I’d politely decline. Sadly, despite some promising glimpses (especially from Sakala this season) neither are in any way good enough and should be sold on/let go as soon as we have squad cover for them.
Then, of course we have both Alfie AND Colak (we can’t really call him Goal-ak lately). Perhaps with Morelos in a 10 role, doing what he does best, pulling players out of position, holding the ball up and creating spaces for the wide guys and central midfielders to run into.
As the saying goes, doing the same things will yield the same results, and teams know how to defend against our “get it out wide left to Kent, Barisic on the overlap and hoist it in to the box” approach. We need to dominate the middle of the park and go back to the fast flowing, direct attacking football that saw us become Invincibles in 2020/21.
Let’s hope we at least make some changes, because if we don’t, we run the risk of turning Ibrox from a Fortress into a Gift Shop.