Rangers can move five points clear at the top of the Premiership table tonight as the Ibrox giants return to action in midweek with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men aiming to reign supreme in the Old Firm derby.
They travel away to face Celtic at Parkhead and have a chance to move further ahead of the Hoops, who are currently two points behind them as it stands.
They come into the game after a 3-3 draw with Ross County at the weekend. The Glasgow giants let in a scrappy goal in the 96th minute to surrender the three points, allowing their rivals to close the gap at the top.
How many changes will van Bronckhorst make to the team? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that he will make three alterations to the side, with Leon Balogun, James Sands and Kemar Roofe all coming in.
Between the sticks, Allan McGregor will start barring any late injury or illness. He made two errors directly leading to goals at the weekend, but his manager has backed him to continue as the number one, saying:
“Allan is our number one and has saved us many times. There were no discussions around taking him out of my team.”
There could be one change to the back four, with Leon Balogun replacing Calvin Bassey alongside Connor Goldson in defence. FFC published an article explaining why the Nigerian centre-back should be brought into the XI, citing his leadership skills and experience after his compatriot’s rough afternoon against Ross County.
In midfield, van Bronckhorst may look to freshen the team up by bringing in January signing Sands to replace Scott Arfield. The Canadian midfielder played 89 minutes at the weekend and has only started seven games all season, which suggests that he could be best suited to an impact role off the bench in this match.
Sands has made five tackles, two interceptions and won ten duels in his two Premiership outings for Rangers so far since his arrival. This shows that the £3.1k-per-week earner is up for the physical battle and could be useful in a derby clash where challenges could be flying in all over the pitch, which is why he could be an ideal candidate to start.
At the top end of the pitch, we are predicting that Kemar Roofe will be given the nod ahead of misfiring Swiss striker Cedric Itten. The ex-Anderlecht man has six goals in six starts in the league this season and his lethal edge in front of goal could be key to winning the game.
Itten, meanwhile, has failed to score in his two Premiership starts since returning from his Bundesliga loan spell in the first half of the campaign. The £12.5k-per-week dud could drop out of the XI to accommodate Roofe, with van Bronckhorst potentially looking to add more attacking quality to his side.