Rangers face St Mirren at Ibrox in their second league match of the season. After the draw at Pittodrie, a win is most certainly required. In many respects, this match represents a big chance to see just where the squad is in terms of ability. Last season, the home record was very poor, as Rangers dropped numerous points in matches where they were favourites. Even factoring in the European games, this is a match Rangers should win. As such, it’s a different challenge to recent matches.
ST MIRREN RECENT FORM
Kilmarnock (League Cup, Away), 0-0 (won 3-2 on penalties)
Spartans (League Cup, Home), 2-2 (won 5-3 on penalties)
Queens Park (League Cup, Away), 0-0 (won 5-4 on penalties)
Dumbarton (League Cup, Home), 6-0 win
Dundee (League, Home), 2-1 win
ST MIRREN SUMMER TRANSFERS
It’s been a busy summer for the Paisley side. With Jack Ross moving to Sunderland, new manager Alan Stubbs has tried to put his own team in place. There have been 21 players who left the club, with 10 coming in. Notable names no longer at the club include Gavin Reilly and Lewis Morgan, who both scored a number of goals in their promotion campaign last season. Massimo Donati, John Sutton, and Jamie Langfield have retired, which means a lot of experience is no longer available to the manager.
In terms of incoming players, the majority have been signed from English clubs. Matty Willock has joined on loan from Manchester United, having spent half of last season at St Johnstone. Jeff King, James Kellermann, Josh Heaton and Cole Kpekwa were also signed. Paul McGinn has joined his brother Stephen at the club, signing from Partick Thistle.
ST MIRREN APPROACH
St Mirren played a 4-4-2 in their match against Dundee. The midfield 4 was set up in a diamond formation, a system Stubbs liked to use when the manager of Hibs. They managed 276 passes against Dundee, which was five fewer than Rangers who played against Aberdeen with 10 men for most of the match. Of their 11 shots in the match, five came from headers, and five were from outside the box. They also suffered 17 fouls, which was highest in the league after the first round of matches.
By playing the two up front, Stubbs looks to hit those players early and try to get his team forward. Magennis and McGinn in midfield are key to their success. It may be that he decides to change the team a little for the trip to Ibrox. With Rangers possibly a bit less energetic due to the match on Thursday, they may play their usual style.
RANGERS TEAM NEWS
Long-term absentees Rossiter, Dorrans, and Wallace aren’t yet available for selection. The sales of Josh Windass and Declan John take away another couple of options to the manager. Borna Barisic will be available to make his debut. Ryan Jack isn’t quite ready to play, but will hopefully be available for the second leg against Maribor.
With that match in mind, and the need to keep the energy levels high, I expect there to be a little bit of rotation in the team. Against Aberdeen, we saw both wide men changed. This time around, I feel that Murphy will come in for Kent. Barisic will take the place of Flanagan at left-back. Injuries in midfield mean that there are no real options for change there.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UP
Rangers will look to start this match at a high tempo and score goals early. That would allow them to see out the match and not expend too much energy. St Mirren will hope to see off any early pressure, turn the crowd against the team, and snatch a result. With the positivity around Ibrox right now and the good form of a number of players, I believe Rangers will win the match 3-0.
What’s your prediction for the match? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts!