It’s very early, with a week to go, but who do we think will start for Rangers at Hampden at the weekend?
Our last predicted XI got three crucial picks wrong – we’d believed Allan McGregor would be saved, ergo we predicted McLaugh, and we feared Connor Goldson’s injury would keep him out, hence the ‘popular’ prediction of Sands. We were also under the impression Nicolas Raskin wasn’t available due to fatigue, and suggested Scotty. Little did we know the ex-Canada man was rejoining the injury list and the Belgian would make it.
Otherwise, 8 out of 11 were correct, and we turn our attention to what we had in mind when we made that prediction.
Now, we know the current injury list, so we have no way of guessing who will be back in time for Hampden, it’s really all up in the air right now, but we’ll hazard a plump at what we think it could be.
This is extremely subject to change!
In goal, however, is easy – Allan McGregor will take the sticks for what could be his last career trophy.
In defence, easy again. It picks itself. Tavernier, Goldson, Davies and Barisic. Injury notwithstanding, of course.
Midfield is where the complications sort of start. And end. Jack and Lunny are huge doubts, but Raskin and Kamara are fine. And Cantwell is likely to be in front of them.
Up front, clearly it’ll be Kent, Morelos and Sakala.
So, in short, exactly the same team as overcame Livingston.
Now the caveat here is the injured list – who in there would clearly start if fit? Well, here’s the brutal answer: possibly none of them. The only one we think Beale would shove back in for sure if available is Malik Tillman given how much he likes him. Even then we’re not sure. John Lundstram might be the other but would he replace Kamara? The starting XI yesterday was strong, even if the bench options weren’t. And it did a good job overcoming a tough opponent on their patch on a plastic pitch.
Why change that for next week?
There may be alterations, we just don’t know, all we know is a trophy rests on this match and Beale is under his first real pressure to deliver.
It’s been a honeymoon mostly for him, but this is the one he’ll truly be judged on.