Philippe Clement must pick a winning Rangers XI v Celtic

Philippe Clement must pick a winning Rangers XI v Celtic
PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - APRIL 28: Rangers manager Philippe Clement is seen prior to the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between St. Mirren FC and Rangers FC at The Simple Digital Arena on April 28, 2024 in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So, regardless of the permutations, what team is good enough to get three points for Rangers this weekend?

As many fans are saying, if we start with Barisic at the back, we’re done for – and yes, we are.

Ibrox Noise would also argue against Dujon Sterling in the same category – he’s not a left back.

Thankfully the return of Ridvan Yilmaz and even Ben Davies gives us a balance in defence that Balogun and Souttar hasn’t managed to achieve. Mainly because they had Tav and Barisic or Sterling outside them.

With Davies and Yilmaz fit, Rangers do have some decent defensive options now – we’d pick Tav, Balogun, Souttar and Ridvan – it’s the best we have, even if Davies’ left-sided balance could be helpful.

He’s just not as good a defender as the Nigerian or Scot, and we need the best of everything at Parkhead.

But we expect Balogun out through injury so Davies will likely start beside Souttar.

In midfield it’s inevitable that John Lundstram will start, alongside Diomande. That’s just what this manager does.

And it means we’re fighting a losing battle from the first whistle. O’Riley, Hatate and McGregor will dominate Lunny and Dio, as they do every Old Firm, because the ex-Sheffield man just doesn’t grab these matches by the scruff.

Of course we’d pick Sterling and Dio in there at Ibrox Noise, with Cantwell tracking back to support, but wtf do we know, right?

The forward quadrant certainly is a massive issue.

Rangers have so few good options in here – Sima, Cortes, Matondo, Danilo – these are all out for the season pretty much, and it limits what we can do.

We have just Wright, McCausland, Cantwell, Lawrence, Roofe, Silva and Dessers. Along with Clement’s insistence of Sterling at RW. It’s hardly an embarrassment of quality and riches.

Clement has his hands tied here – he inevitably will pick Dessers as the striker, and surely Cantwell as the 10, but the two wingers?

Wright is mince, utter guff – he can run fast but that’s it. He’s incredibly lightweight. McCausland is safe but has no danger factor – doesn’t scare defenders or run at them. Lawrence has a lovely touch and vision, but struggles to impose on matches. Roofe is one scratched nail away from a 6-month absence, but when he’s fit he is very, very useful. Sterling ain’t a winger. Strong and quick, but has no subtlety in his game. Being totally mismanaged.

Last but not least is Silva, who is just a joke of a player, unfortunately.

We admit here that we couldn’t envy Clement less if we tried. He has absolutely nothing to play with in attack, even if he never uses Sterling right.

So what does he do?

Well that’s up to him. He’s the manager, and he deserves very little sympathy given the number of square pegs he has kept on trying to shove in round holes.

But with so many fans calling him Harry Potter for miracle-working earlier this season, this would be the right time for him to produce another spell.

We couldn’t even guess what he will do.

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