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Rangers vs Kilmarnock: Preview, Prediction, Team News and more | SPFL 2020-21

Gerrard's Rangers dropped two crucial points in their last game
Gerrard's Rangers dropped two crucial points in their last game
Rupam Nag

League leaders Rangers welcome Kilmarnock to the Ibrox on Saturday afternoon, looking to retain their place atop the Scottish league table. Steven Gerrard's men have ten points from four games, six more than arch-rivals Celtic who have two games in hand.

Owing to Celtic player Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo breaking travel restrictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the defending Scottish League champions were denied an opportunity to play their last two scheduled games and were instead asked to go into quarantine. That has given Rangers a psychological advantage more than anything as they'll like to keep their 6-point lead before Celtic return to action this weekend.

Kilmarnock, on the other hand, failed to build on the momentum they earned by taking a point off Celtic in Matchday 2, managing only one point in their next two games against Ross County and St. Johnstone. They are yet to win a game this season, and it would certainly be a bit of a reach to expect them to break their duck against Rangers.

On that note, let's take a detailed look at what Rangers' match with Kilmarnock has in store for us.


Rangers vs Kilmarnock head-to-head

Alfredo Morelos (left) and Stuart Findlay (right) should have a good battle again
Alfredo Morelos (left) and Stuart Findlay (right) should have a good battle again

Kilmarnock have a very decent record against Rangers in recent times. They won 2-1 the last time the two teams squared off as Eamonn Brophy scored an 88th minute winner. However, the last time Kilmarnock visited the Ibrox, Alfredo Morelos fired the home team to a narrow 1-0 win.

Rangers have started the 2020-21 season with three wins in a row and should've made it four from four. That wasn't to be, however, as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Livingston. The joint-league leaders completely dominated the game with almost 80% possession but weren't clinical enough in front of goal.

Kilmarnock play a brand of expressive football similar to Rangers and like to venture forward at every opportunity. Their defence may look suspect from time to time, but they are a very well-drilled unit under manager Alex Dyer.

In their last five meetings, Rangers and Kilmarnock won two games apiece, while one game was drawn.

Rangers (last 5 games): D-W-W-L-W.

Kilmarnock (last 5 games): L-D-D-L-L.


Rangers vs Kilmarnock Team News:

Rangers

The home side are playing some of the best defence they have in recent times. Although they failed to bag all three points in their last outing, they managed to keep a clean-sheet in the process.

In fact, Rangers have done so in all of their games this season in the Scottish league. Four clean-sheets in four matches is mightily impressive, and one will expect Rangers to extend their run of good defensive performances against Kilmarnock too.

37-year-old Jermain Defoe remains injured on the sidelines.
37-year-old Jermain Defoe remains injured on the sidelines.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is unlikely to make any major changes to his playing-XI, except perhaps for the inclusion of Joe Aribo.

The 24-year-old Nigerian international is deemed to be fit for selection, and he may be thrown into the starting lineup straightaway. However, Rangers' long-term absentees Nikola Katic and Jermain Defoe remain sidelined due to injuries.

Injuries: Nikola Katic, Jermain Defoe.

Doubtful: None.

Suspensions: None.

Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock have a fully fit squad, barring the absence of goalkeeper Jake Eastwood who is on-loan from Sheffield United.

36-year-old veteran Chris Burke is refusing to let age take a toll on his performances as he is the focal point of the Killies' offence at this moment. He has scored three goals this season and is the joint top-scorer in the 2020-21 Scottish League, alongside Odsonne Edouard and Kevin Nisbet.

Alex Dyer has a selection problem at right-back, however, as first-choice Ross Millen was sent off in Kilmarnock's defeat to St. Johnstone.

It'll be the first time this season that the manager will be forced to make a change in defence. Generally, Dyer tends not to tinker with his starting lineup much, so the rest of his team against Rangers should be unchanged.

Injuries: Jake Eastwood.

Doubts: None.

Suspensions: Ross Millen.


Rangers vs Kilmarnock Predicted XI

Rangers (4-2-3-1): Jon McLaughlin; James Tavernier; Connor Goldson; Filip Helander; Borna Barisic; Ryan Jack; Glen Kamara; Joe Aribo; Ryan Kent; Ianis Hagi; Alfredo Morelos.

Kilmarnock (4-3-3): Danny Rogers; Aaron McGowan; Kirk Broadfoot; Stuart Findlay; Calum Waters; Alan Power; Gary Dicker; Aaro Tshibola; Mitchell Pinnock; Chris Burke; Nicke Kabamba.


Rangers vs Kilmarnock Prediction

Alfredo Morelos of Rangers could be a handful for the Kilmarnock back-four
Alfredo Morelos of Rangers could be a handful for the Kilmarnock back-four

Steven Gerrard was clearly frustrated after dropping two precious points in the game against Livingston, so Rangers are expected to respond emphatically against the Killies.

Dyer's team, on the other hand, know very well that they will not have a lot of the ball to work with and will have to be at their clinical best in order to take anything against Rangers.

The Gers are solid at the back and are yet to concede in the league this season. Their offence looks very good, despite being a tad bit unlucky not to have won against Livingston after registering 23 shots in that match. Alfredo Morelos could be in among the goals again, especially if Ianis Hagi returns to form.

It is very difficult not to predict a home win for Rangers, given the form both teams are in.

Final Verdict: Rangers 3-0 Kilmarnock.


Edited by Bhargav

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