Rangers travel tonight to Tynecastle in what threatens to be a very, very tough one, with Shankland on form and Hearts entrenched in third place in the Premiership.
Philippe Clement’s rather subdued Rangers eventually got over the line against the well-organised St Mirren side led by Stephen Robinson which threatened to make the result far from foregone, and we will need much better at the notorious Tynecastle this evening.
So what XI do we predict to do the job?
Well the defence picks itself, whether we want it to or not…
Butland, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun and Barisic.
Midfield is likely to be Lundstram and Lawrence again.
But we can see Philippe Clement winding up a lot of people by fielding Lammers, alongside Sima and Cantwell.
Up top? Dessers.
Yes, we suspect Clement, like every manager who went before him, will pick another infuriating XI which makes no sense and leaves many of his best options on the bench.
So our pessimistic prediction:
Butland; Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic; Lundstram, Lawrence; Sima, Lammers, McCausland; Dessers.
A blind man can tell you that’s not the best possible XI we could field, far from it, but it’s the Rangers Way these days not to pick a satisfying XI that will do the job, but instead to pick 3 or 4 players that just wind fans up to see them.
Hell, we wouldn’t even be shocked if Cifuentes is in Lawrence’s place…
But Hearts is a tough place to go, very tough, and in great form too – Celtic and Motherwell the only sides to get 3 points at Tynecastle this season, so it’s not a given.
Rangers will have to be more energetic and hungry in Edinburgh than they were at Ibrox because if not for Sima’s goal, we do wonder if that insipid first 45 might have bled into the second half.
We shall see come this evening.