While Ibrox Noise accidentally omitted the injured Dujon Sterling in the list of Germany absentees for Rangers, the backup RB’s absence from the camp doesn’t really make much difference to anything – he’s the bench sitter for James Tavernier, little more.
But with those absentees from Germany highlighted earlier (Goldson, Kamara, Raskin and Lawrence) along with the former Chelsea kid, what does that mean for the starting XI when the action begins in earnest?
Obviously we have this month’s friendlies, four of them to be precise, but then the start of the Premiership and Champions League qualifier in less than a month sees a real ramp up in intensity.
So what do the absences mean?
Well, we can dismiss Kamara, that one doesn’t matter, he’s not part of Michael Beale’s plans anyway.
Sterling too is irrelevant, because as we say, Tavernier will start at RB as always. The ex-Chelsea lad can play centrally too but it’s not his main slot.
But central defence itself is actually a bit concerning.
Rangers currently have just two fit central defenders – John Souttar and Ben Davies, and both of them are only just coming back from injuries themselves. Leon King is absolutely miles off the level needed and that’s literally it. Connor Goldson as the only other option is not guaranteed to be fit for Killie at all.
Raskin isn’t such a problem in the middle, hopefully he’s got his feet up and is resting in time to be ready for a few of the friendlies and the start of the serious action, and Lawrence while not ideal, is not close to indispensable and Michael Beale can only predict his return after Germany.
So, with that all said, the starting XI for the friendlies into the serious action is currently looking like this:
Butland, Tavernier, Souttar, Davies, Ridvan; Raskin, Lundstram, Cantwell; Lammers, Sima, Dessers.
In all honesty, we look at this list, and it still falls a bit short. It’s getting there, but isn’t quite finished yet.
Rangers are attack-heavy (loads of options in there), but have signed no midfielders aside Dowell (Jack being the only other option), nor defenders aside RB Sterling.
The lineup still needs a little work – it critically needs a left-sided CB (Davies isn’t up to it) and ideally Cifuentes in midfield or some big strong major figure in there.
But while there’s a few stale names currently in the side, overall it’s looking decent. Just a fraction short. The injuries aren’t helping.