How Rangers could line up without Todd Cantwell as Michael Beale faces Cyriel Dessers decision

If one thing has been clear during Rangers inauspicious start to the season, it is that manager Michael Beale has yet to settle on his strongest starting 11.

While a core of defensive players have been used in almost all matches, the rotation among the midfield and forward line in particular has meant that Beale has yet to name the same team twice.

He has also shown a reluctance to rely on some of his new signings with striker Cyriel Dessers and goalkeeper Jack Butland the only two from the nine summer arrivals who have been starting matches regularly.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fellow recruits such as Danilo, Sam Lammers, Abdallah Sima and Jose Cifuentes were all left on the bench for the 1-0 defeat to Celtic prior to the international break that has piled pressure on Beale and his players.

Rangers striker Cyriel Dessers looks dejected after the defeat to Celtic at Ibrox on September 3. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)Rangers striker Cyriel Dessers looks dejected after the defeat to Celtic at Ibrox on September 3. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Rangers striker Cyriel Dessers looks dejected after the defeat to Celtic at Ibrox on September 3. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

With supporter unrest and speculation over his position, Beale's team selections for the upcoming matches could be crucial to getting fans back onside - but he will be without one of his most influential performers.

Creative midfielder Todd Cantwell has been ruled out for up to four matches with a knee injury picked up in the Old Firm fixture on September 3 while his fellow former Norwich team-mate Kieran Dowell will miss a similar period.

It's an extra headache Beale could do without as Rangers return to domestic duty against St Johnstone in Perth on Saturday before facing Real Socieded at Ibrox in their first Europa League group stage fixture on Thursday.

Discussing his possible team selection for the trip to McDiarmid Park, Beale said: "The strongest team will play the next game. Tom Lawrence is fully fit. Kemar Roofe is in a really good place."

It seems likely that both players mentioned will start the match with Lawrence, available again after almost a full year out injured, likely to play in Cantwell's position just behind the strikers, with Roofe, who arguably remains Rangers' most reliable finisher in spite of his injury record, placed on the right of a front three.

Given the struggles of Dessers in the opening weeks of the campaign - where the £4.5m signing from Cremonese has failed to win over Rangers fans despite starting eight of nine fixtuures and scoring twice - it would be no surprise if Beale were to take the Nigerian international out of the firing line and give Danilo - the £6m arrival from Feyenoord - his chance.

Rabbi Matondo was one Rangers player showing encouraging form ahead of the break and will likely make up the Rangers forward line after his recall to the Wales national side.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Further back, midfield ballast will likely come in the shape of the ever-reliable Ryan Jack alongside Nicolas Raskin while the back four that has started most matches this season will do so again with Borna Barisic fit again having featured for Croatia after missing the Celtic defeat through injury.

Predicted Rangers line-up v St Johnstone (4-2-1-3): Butland; Tavernier, Goldson, Souttar, Barisic; Raskin, Jack, Lawrence; Roofe, Danilo, Matondo.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.