Rangers face fellow Premiership side Hibernian in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup on Sunday as they look to book their place in the final of the competition.
They will do so without their new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst in the dugout. The Dutchman is reportedly expected to officially start the job next Monday as he awaits a work permit.
Jermain Defoe was confirmed as one of the coaches set to take charge until a permanent manager is in place, which could see the ex-Tottenham striker running the rule of the match on Sunday.
One change to the team that Defoe could make for Van Bronckhorst is bringing Borna Barisic in at left-back for Calvin Bassey to add an extra attacking threat to the side.
The Dutchman could enjoy watching Barisic play as he might see similarities between himself and the Croatian, having played at left-back throughout his career. A trait the current Gers defender shares with his new head coach is the ability to score and set up goals from the back.
Van Bronckhorst managed seven goals and 18 assists for Barcelona, whilst also producing 35 goals and 27 assists during his playing time with Feyenoord. He also scored and set up goals for Rangers, Arsenal and the Netherlands, showing that he had the quality to be a game-changer from left-back by popping up with a crucial goal or assist.
Barisic has shown that he can also change, and indeed win, games with his contributions in the final third for the Gers. He has managed an impressive seven goals and 34 assists in 125 games for the club to date, including two assists in six Premiership matches this term.
On this point, Mark Wilson once lauded Barisic’s attacking prowess, saying: “He’s the best left-back in the country. He’s improved his defending and supplies assists and is a threat at set pieces.”
Meanwhile, Basset has just one goal and three assists in 28 senior appearances for Rangers. This suggests that Barisic offers more in the final third of the pitch and could allow the Gers to create more chances from the left-hand side this weekend.
The £15k-per-week Croatia international could catch Van Bronckhorst’s eye ahead of the manager’s Monday start, given their similarities as players; and that – along with his potential to be a game-changer – is why Rangers must start him this weekend.