Rangers can seal their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League this evening as the Ibrox side look to build on their 3-0 advantage heading into the match.
Gio van Bronckhorst’s men romped to a win last time out in Europe, with goals from James Tavernier, Alfredo Morelos and Leon Balogun handing them a healthy lead going into the second leg.
The club’s most recent match, however, was a 3-0 win in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup last weekend. Tavernier, Connor Goldson and Fashion Sakala all found the back of the net in the rout.
What changes could the head coach make from that cup clash?
One player he must unleash after leaving him on the bench against Dundee FC is central midfielder John Lundstram.
Van Bronckhorst must now drop Sands out in order to revert back to a 4-3-3 and bring Lundstram into the middle of the park alongside Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara. His battling out of possession and his calmness on the ball will be crucial to seeing this tie out and that is why he has to start against Red Star Belgrade tonight.
His former manager, Chris Wilder, was recently effusive in his praise of the Gers destroyer, saying:
“He can play in a two or a three in midfield and he’s old-school. He’s like a throwback to Robson. He can pass it, he can head it, he can tackle and he can get in the box to score. He can do everything.
“But we seem to have got away from this notion of just being a good, proper midfield player. That’s what John is.”
Journalist Andrew Dickson claimed, last month, that Lundstram is on a “continued rise” at Ibrox and we are backing him to be given another chance to showcase his quality tonight.
The ex-Sheffield United man has been solid in Europe for the Gers with an average SofaScore rating of 6.89 in the competition so far.
Defensively, he has made 2.4 tackles and interceptions per game and won 52% of his individual duels. This shows that he has been getting stuck in off the ball to win possession back for his side, which is why he will be key to ensuring that Rangers do not allow their hefty advantage to slip.
Lundstram has also been reliable on the ball. The 28-year-old has completed an impressive 90% of his passes in Europe and his assurance can help the Gers to avoid being pressed in their own half, whilst also allowing them to dictate the flow of the game and enjoy the larger chunk of the possession.