Glasgow Rangers face their toughest test under Michael Beale this afternoon when the Light Blues welcome their fiercest rivals to Ibrox for the second Old Firm match of the campaign.
Beale has led the club to four straight victories since the resumption of the Premiership season following the World Cup hiatus, but Celtic will be a massive test, especially considering the blistering domestic form they are in this season, losing just once.
Three points are absolutely vital if the Ibrox side wishes to remain in a title challenge this term, anything less and Beale could say bye-bye to the league championship.
There were no new injury concerns following their last match, a routine 3-0 victory over Motherwell, and we at Football FanCast have predicted the Rangers starting XI ahead of today’s massive derby…
Allan McGregor will keep his place in goal after recording just his fourth clean sheet of the league season against Motherwell.
The back four will remain unchanged from the win last week, with James Tavernier, Ben Davies, Connor Goldson, and Borna Barisic taking their places in a back four that should become the usual defensive line-up for the rest of the campaign barring any injuries.
Beale will start with John Lundstram and Glen Kamara as his midfield axis, while 30-year-old Ryan Jack – dubbed “outstanding” by Jordan Campbell – will drop to the bench to accommodate the Finnish midfielder.
Fashion Sakala could return to a right-wing role having already scored twice and registered an assist under Beale in just four matches. Malik Tillman should operate in the number ten role just behind the striker and Ryan Kent will take his usual position on the left wing, aiming to add to his tally of two goals scored against Celtic.
Beale’s big dilemma ahead of the tie will be who to start as the lone striker; Alfredo Morelos, or Antonio Colak. However, considering the Croatian has yet to play under the Englishman, Morelos should be the one to lead the line.
The £33k-per-week Colombian “nightmare” – as dubbed by an unknown former Premiership player – has netted twice under Beale and looks rejuvenated. Thus, he will be aiming to make a difference having missed the first Old Firm tie of the campaign.
The Ibrox faithful will be hoping he is at his “lethal” best – as previously described by Jordan Campbell – during the match as the club’s hopes could rest firmly on his shoulders.