Is this how Rangers will line-up for Champions League qualifier without Ryan Kent?
Rangers will go into Tuesday's Champions league third round qualifier with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise after a winning start to the SPFL campaign – but competition for places in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team might just have intensified.
Defeating Livingston with a second-half comeback has given the manager even more food for thought when it comes to lining up a side to take on the Belgian surprise package.
The Union, Jupiler League runners-up to Club Brugge last season on their return to their domestic top flight, maintain an element of last season’s style under new manager Karel Geraerts. They lined up with a 3-5-2 formation to defeat RSC Chaleroi on Friday night and have enjoyed a strong pre-season – including a 4-0 win over van Bronckhorst’s old side, Feyenoord.
The Dutchman has faced similar systems before, and used the formation himself in Europe last season and has many options of his own following Rangers’ seven-strong recruitment drive this summer.
Jon McLaughlin was given the gloves for the Premiership kick-off, however Allan McGregor still has designs on the position and could yet be restored for European games, or on a rotation basis. That is one dilemma, however positive ones were created for the Rangers manager in west Lothian too.
Scott Arfield inspired Rangers’ comeback with an intelligent run and glancing header to equalise on Saturday and fellow substitute Malik Tillman also impressed in the second half, won by James Tavernier’s sweeping free-kick.
Both substitutes could come into contention, as could Rabbi Matondo and Ridvan Yilmaz who missed the match. Even Alfredo Morelos holds an outside chance of selection after his injury lay-off and suddenly Rangers’ starting line-up in Belgium could take a much stronger complexion than that which failed to ignite during the first half in Livingston.
They eventually got the job done and van Bronckhorst will be seeking an improved performance, and winning outcome to the tricky tie as they target their new European ambitions with qualification for the group stage.
Here is how the Dutchman could line-up for Tuesday night’s game in Leuven – moved from Saint-Gilloise’s Brussels home. Kick off is 7.45pm.