Michael Beale has dropped a massive hint that Todd Cantwell, Ryan Jack, Malik Tillman and Nicolas Raskin will all start at Parkhead tomorrow, and the manager also confirmed that Ryan Jack’s position has changed from defensive midfielder to attacking midfielder, as if we’d thought anything else.
Speaking prior to the massive league clash, the boss referred to getting the attacking players on the ball:
Which would strongly imply he intends to start all three of those, and will start fit-again Nicolas Raskin as well, unless of course this is a colossal red herring which Michael Beale does love to use.
However, assuming it isn’t, it would appear tomorrow’s team seems to mostly be:
McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Davies, Barisic; Raskin, Jack, Cantwell; Kent and Tillman… with the striker/final place still uncertain.
But it was that admission as well that Jacko is now more of an AM, a box-to-box midfielder than a defensive anchor that was telling too, with the manager clearly using the Scotland international in a more advanced slot than he used to occupy.
Essentially his previous injury ruined his ability to play the old role he once shone at, and which was a major reason Rangers secured 55. That injury lasted almost 18 months if not more, and Jack has had to adapt his game to get the most out of what he has now – he can’t defend quite like he used to, can’t cover like he did.
But he can burst forward and plays as an auxiliary playmaker now, supporting the attack and interlinking with the wings. He can still defend, just not like the machine he used to be.
As for the four players, it seems like the boss may actually have learned to use his best players in the big matches which count.
We’ll see if that’s yet more nonsense from Michael Beale or if he’s effectively just revealed the core of his starting XI already and if he has, we might actually have a sliver of a chance in Glasgow’s East End after all.
Time will tell.