By Jordan Robertson
Rangers host second placed Kilmarnock tomorrow in a match that pits two of the league’s on-form sides against each other.
Despite their recent strong league form, the hosts go into this one on the back of a bitterly disappointing loss against Aberdeen in the Betfred cup semi-final on Sunday. However they will take comfort in the fact that they have been impressive at home so far this season. The Gers have managed to score 14 goals in just four games at home and they have only conceded two at Ibrox
Rangers will also be boosted by the return of attackers Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty, who were suspended and cup-tied respectively, this will be a huge confidence boost for Steven Gerrard’s men.
Many Rangers fans felt that they badly needed both strikers against Aberdeen and several fans took to social media to criticise stand in striker Umar Sadiq’s perfomance.
James Forrest, a contributor to the Heart and Hand Rangers podcast feels that the return of both the attackers is massively important for the hosts. He said: “They are our two senior strikers.
“Without them we have no one to step up to that role as we clearly saw.
“Lafferty is due a big performance, but Morelos is top dog and I can’t see him not starting.”
Forrest is also confident that Rangers can get a positive result against the Ayrshire side and he hopes that they can take advantage of their home form. He said: “When we have been at home we have been able to dictate the tempo of the game.
“It’s a tough game but home advantage is key.
“We should win the game. Kilmarnock are good but we are better.”
However, there is no doubt that the Rugby Park side will travel to Ibrox in full confidence that they can come away with a positive result.
Since current boss Steve Clarke took over in October 2017 the side have been in tremendous form. No Premiership side has more points than Kilmarnock in 2018 and the side are currently second in the league.
Clarke’s first match in charge of Kilmarnock was against Rangers at Ibrox. Kilmarnock grabbed a 95th minute equaliser that night through Chris Burke and the game signalled the end of Pedro Caixinha’s time as Rangers boss.
Victory tomorrow would put Killie six points ahead of Rangers and Sandy Armour, editor of popular Kilmarnock FC fanzine ‘The Killie Hippo’ is looking forward to the game.
Armour feels that Killie have nothing to worry about and insists their record under Steve Clarke speaks for itself. He said: “Our consistency under Stevie Clarke has been second to none.
“Our recent record against the old firm has been as good as anyone so we have absolutely nothing to fear.”
Armour also feels that Kilmarnock can use the fact they are the visiting side to their advantage. He said: “It possibly suits our game when teams come at us and we play on the counter attack.
“If we can keep it tight and frustrate them we will play our way into the game and hopefully come away with a draw at the least.”
Fans favourite Jordan Jones will be available for selection again for Steve Clarke after serving a two-game ban for simulation. However, key central defender Kirk Broadfoot is an injury doubt and he missed the game at the weekend against Hamilton Academical.
Armour admits that whilst every Killie player will have a part to play, it would be a benefit to have Broadfoot as well as Jones back in the side. He said: “Our starting eleven never changes too much and they all have a part to play.
“We have lost a couple of soft goals recently so we need to be tighter, hopefully Broadfoot will be fit.”
“It was noticeable against Hamilton that both Stephen O’Donnell and Greg Taylor had fewer options on the ball with Burke and Jones absent. I’d like to see both of them start the game tomorrow as we have a much better shape with that formation.”
Both sides have already met this season, in the Betfred Cup. Rangers were the visiting side in that game and came out winners with a convincing 3-1 win. Controversy followed after the game as Rangers winger Jamie Murphy was ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury that many of the Rangers players and staff blamed on Kilmarnock’s artificial pitch.
Current Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor took to Twitter to blast the pitch after the game.
The game will kick off at 7.45pm on Wednesday October 31 at Ibrox park.