Rangers travel to Armenia on Thursday afternoon to take on Alashkert in the Europa League playoff second leg, with Steven Gerrard’s side holding a 1-0 lead on aggregate after their win at Ibrox last week.
However, the Gers will be without their manager, as well as several first-team players after a covid outbreak at the club, which leaves the Teddy Bears in a very precarious position with Europa League qualification on the line.
Rangers looked back to their best from an attacking sense in the 4-2 win against Ross County last weekend but will be without the likes of Allan McGregor, Jon McLaughlin, Ryan Kent, Scott Wright, James Tavernier and Calvin Bassey due to isolation, whilst several other regular starters are either suspended or injured.
Thankfully for Gerrard, he still has a fairly experienced first squad to choose from but will be lacking in any real options from the bench in Yerevan.
Here’s how Football FanCast expects Rangers to line up on Thursday, with five changes from the team that started against Ross County…
In the absence of McGregor and McLaughlin, it seems likely that Ross McCrorie will start in between the sticks against Alashkert.
Rangers still have a fairly strong defence despite Bassey and Tavernier not travelling, with Nathan Patterson and Borna Barisic, who was once described as “terrific” by former Gers man Alex Rae, the likely replacements.
Leon Balogun also drops to the bench after some shaky recent displays, with Filip Helander returning to the starting lineup to partner Conor Goldson at centre-back.
The midfield almost picks itself, with Glen Kamara, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield all likely to start there in the absence of John Lundstram, who is suspended after being sent off in the first leg, although Juninho Bacuna could feature from the bench.
Gerrard has a real lack of options on the wing due to Wright and Kent’s isolation, Kemar Roofe’s suspension and Fashion Sakala’s injury, so it would be a surprise if Joe Aribo and Ianis Hagi weren’t the man to start out wide.
Finally, after scoring the only goal last week, Rangers fans will be hoping that European top scorer Alfredo Morelos can steer them through this tricky tie on Thursday night and earn them a spot in the group stages.
And, in other news… Gerrard could be set for huge transfer blow with Rangers star