Rangers face Hamilton on Sunday in the SPFL Premiership hoping to pick up their first away win in the league this season. After a very strong performance against Hearts, Gerrard will be demanding similar levels from the team away from Ibrox. After another international break, the fans are eager to watch Rangers in action. Hamilton are an inconsistent side, and it’s yet another artificial surface to be played on. Despite that, there’s a confidence among the fans that the team can play well and win strongly. This article provides a tactical preview and statistics for the upcoming match.
LAST 5 HAMILTON RESULTS
St Johnstone (League, Home), 2-1 defeat
Livingston (League, Away), 1-0 defeat
St Mirren (League, Home), 3-0 win
Dundee (League, Home), 2-0 defeat
Hibernian (League, Away), 6-0 defeat
HAMILTON TACTICS AND STATISTICS
In their matches this season, Hamilton have played either a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-1-1 system. They currently sit 9th in the table after 2 wins and 6 defeats. With 6 goals scored, they are the second lowest in the league. Their 16 conceded goals meant they are third highest in that regard. Their average possession percentage is 46.5, which is a fair bit behind Motherwell next above them with 49.3%.
Despite that difference in possession percentage, Hamilton play more passes than Motherwell, averaging 309 per match. The players who play the highest number are McMann and Imrie, who often both line up on the left-hand side. In terms of long balls, they are the second highest in the league, with goalkeeper Woods and left-back McMann playing high numbers of those.
Hamilton have only managed 57 shots on goal so far, the joint lowest of all the Premiership sides. Only 22% of those shots have been on target, with 25 of them coming from outside the box. They have hit 89 crosses, which is the lowest in the league. In terms of dribbling situations, they average 20 per match. They have by far the least amount of touches in the opposition area with only 76 so far.
Unsurprisingly, Hamilton have the highest amount of defensive duels in the league so far. They have a success rate of just under 21%. McMann at left back has faced most for them, and only wins around 12%. Of 67 aerial duels per match, they win 42%. Rakish Bingham is the player involved in most duels for them, which suggests a lot of long balls are played to him up front.
HOW WILL HAMILTON LINE UP?
In recent matches, Hamilton have changed to the back 4. I suspect they’ll look to play this way again, despite the heavy loss to Hibernian. The 4-3-3 of Rangers means that using a back 3 is risky, and can leave space out wide which will be exploited. Gary Woods is their first choice goalkeeper. In defence, the full backs have been McGowan and McMann. Kilgallon and Want have been the choices in central defence. However, Ziggy Gordon has been played there when they used a back 3 and may be brought back into the side.
In midfield, Imrie and Boyd play wide, with some rotation in midfield. MacKinnon and Taiwo are often played, with Kelly and Tshiembe also options. Mickel Miller has played just off of the striker, which is either Brustad or Bingham.
RANGERS TEAM NEWS
For the first time this season, Gerrard played the same starting XI in two consecutive matches against Vienna and Hearts. Scott Arfield is considered doubtful for this match due to a hamstring strain, and Borna Barisic hasn’t recovered yet. If Arfield does miss out, that means one change is required in midfield. Ryan Jack and Andy Halliday would seem best placed to step in. Kyle Lafferty is suspended after pulling out of international duty, which will mean the likes of Middleton and Grezda will be the attacking options from the bench.
PREDICTED RANGERS LINE UP
Statistically, Hamilton seem to be a similar side to Livingston. They get the ball forward quite quickly and look to then play if they win the challenge in the opposing half. Rangers struggled against Livingston as they looked uncomfortable on the surface and clearly had eyes on upcoming fixtures. With the focus on the poor away record, the players will have extra motivation this time around. As such, I believe Rangers will win the match 3-0.
How do you see the game going? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your predictions.