Why Rangers will prefer their schedule to Celtic - and Giovanni van Bronckhorst's defensive decision

Rangers players will much rather an intense fixture calendar with European games than be in Celtic’s position.

Former Ibrox star Kevin Thomson reckons there will be “no excuses" from the squad over their schedule, knowing they are still playing European football with a Europa League quarter-final with Braga on the horizon.

It means Rangers are fighting on three fronts with a Scottish Cup semi-final against their rivals coming up next month, compared to Celtic's two.

"There's no getting away from the fact that Celtic will have better time to recover and prepare but if I was a Rangers player I would rather be in Europe and be tired, and challenging on all fronts, than being Celtic and out of Europe," Thomson said.

Rangers manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst will have a decision to make on his defensive set-up. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

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"It can have its advantages and disadvantages, but one thing I know is if there's any tiredness or excuses in the squad, have excuses in the summer when you've got that league medal in your back hipper. You can be tired when you're sitting in Dubai on the beach, or wherever.

"Listen, there will be no excuses with how busy the schedule is, I'm pretty sure, from the Rangers camp."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has continued the club's fine European record having taken over from Steven Gerrard.

Going into Sunday’s match he will have the dilemma of playing a back four or three centre backs.

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“There's obviously wee cute changes," Thomson said. “He still likes 4-3-3. He's tinkered with his shape and his formation in Europe and it's worked brilliantly for him going to three at the back. I certainly don't think that will be the case come Sunday, but he needs a lot of credit.

"To follow on from Steven Gerrard and how successful the team were, and the prestige that Steven Gerrard brings, it's hard to get away from that. He's a world class icon. But Gio is as big an icon as well, so it's been great for the club to attract that type of manager with the profile these boys have got.

“Ultimately, it's hard to get away from it, you're judged on winning medals and Gio is going to get judged on that."

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