Michael Beale, decoys notwithstanding, has suggested what Ibrox Noise reported some days ago, that Rangers’ starting XI this Sunday will be pretty much as it was at Livingston.
And as we said back then, that’s really not a problem, at least nowhere near a big a problem as missing so many players would be.
While there are key players potentially not unavailable, it is hard to be worried about a team consisting of Allan McGregor, James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Ben Davies, Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara, Nicolas Raskin, Todd Cantwell, Ryan Kent, Alfredo Morelos and Fashion Sakala.
That is far from a bad lineup. And in fact, the only player missing there that we think Beale would have rather had is Malik Tillman, with an honourable nod to John Lundstram.
Rangers played pretty well at the Tony Macaroni – on a horrible surface at the Scottish Premiership’s fourth-placed team, and won comfortably – it wasn’t an easy 90 minutes but the result was never in doubt after the penalty.
Not to say that Celtic are the same as Livingston, but Rangers under Michael Beale have been pretty consistent and the players in the XI last weekend were absolutely no slouches – we were pretty much at ease with them starting this Sunday as well.
Missing or potentially missing?
McCrorie, Souttar, Helander, Ridvan, Jack, Lundstram, Arfield, Roofe, Hagi, Lawrence, Lowry. A strong group of players. And yet, who would you drop of the chosen XI and who would you replace them with?
So while we have a lot missing, we have a lot available, and good strength available. The bench might be a little thin, but hopefully there is enough. And therein is the slight catch – we would rather have more options in the dugout – only really Scott Wright, possibly Hagi, and Colak. That is literally about it for sure. It’s not a lot of depth and with some luck one or two will return in time.
But Rangers are certainly ready for this final. More ready than we might have expected to be going back a few weeks, and that’s taking the missing players into account too.