Michael Beale has a massive selection dilemma on Thursday. Let’s make no mistake, Rangers’ defence is a disaster. A shutout against Bayer Leverkusen who weren’t even trying means absolutely nothing, and Beale himself knows this.
The real meat is serious competition, and Hibernian will give Rangers a much tougher time than our German guests did on Saturday, meaning the boss has a bit of a call to make in his first serious match in charge.
Does he stick with the underwhelming Leon King and James Sands duo, which doesn’t really have any major understanding and is arguably our least favoured duo of all the possible options, or go with the risk of starting either Connor Goldson or Ben Davies, or both, with neither of them particularly close to proper match fitness?
It’s a big call for the manager to make, his first choice without doubt is Goldson with a strong likelihood Ben Davies is the chosen partner.
That said, Filip Helander was a big favourite when Beale was at Ibrox last so the Swede, out for quite a while in any case, could figure once fit, but the reality is he’s probably being mostly written off due to his rotten injury history at Rangers.
So it’s Davies, but the big call is whether Sands and King will start or Goldson or Davies will get the nod.
Goldson has been a big miss without question, but more due to the injury crisis itself than because his performances were so good – he was missed because Rangers had no replacement for him, no one available who could comfortably slot in. And that’s just bad planning, rather than any huge praise of Goldson’s importance and performances.
That said, Rangers with him and Davies back are a better team than without – and Beale is left to make a very big decision this week.
In many ways, it’s the first big real call as a Rangers manager, whether to take the risk on the potentially not fully fit guys, or stick with a known substandard defence – 3 points may well rest on what Michael Beale decides is the right call for Ibrox.