CLEMENT BENCHES WRIGHT IN PREDICTED RANGERS LINEUP VS HEARTS

Glasgow Rangers recorded a solid 3-0 away win over St Johnstone last weekend as they ascended to the top of the Premiership table for the first time since 2022.

Under previous managers, the Ibrox side would have wilted under the pressure last week, but in Philippe Clement, they have a boss who has totally transformed the mentality of the side in just five months.

They now find themselves leading Celtic by two points in the league table, and a win over Hearts tomorrow afternoon could see the gap being stretched to five points, showing how quickly things can change.

The Europa League last 16 draw has seen the Light Blues handed a tricky clash against Benfica, with the first leg on March 7 and this means Clement will be preparing his squad for the hectic schedule which is set to follow.

This could mean there are a couple of changes to face the Jambos at Ibrox tomorrow and with this in mind, here's a look at who could make the starting XI for the key league clash…

GK – Jack Butland

Arguably the most important signing the club made last summer. Butland has been in wonderful form since swapping the Premier League for Scotland and if he maintains this until the end of the season, an England call-up to the Euro 2024 squad would not be a surprise.

The former Crystal Palace shot-stopper has kept an impressive 13 clean sheets in 26 league ties and this has been imperative in the Gers' chase for glory.

Another shutout tomorrow could be crucial, that’s for sure.

RB – James Tavernier

The number one spot and right-back area pretty much pick themselves and Tavernier will be hoping to continue his wonderful run of form against Hearts this season.

In three previous meetings since the start of the campaign, the defender has scored against the Gorgie outfit three times while grabbing two assists too, and another goal involvement or two tomorrow could give the Gers another win.

CB – Connor Goldson

While Butland has been excellent in between the posts, Connor Goldson has been a rock at the heart of the defence.

The Englishman has missed only three matches this term, signifying his importance to the team, and while he is prone to the odd error – notably against Aberdeen when he was caught out with a long ball over the top – his performances have been excellent.

CB – John Souttar

Retaining his place alongside Goldson is the Scottish centre-back, who has formed a wonderful partnership next to his older colleague.

Indeed, he has started six of the previous seven Premiership matches next to Goldson, in which the Gers have conceded just three times.

LB – Ridvan Yilmaz

With squad rotation being key of late, Borna Barisic was brought into the starting XI for the clash against St Johnstone, but tomorrow, it will be Yilmaz who is unleashed.

His resurgence under Clement has been a joy to watch as he has been able to produce some of his finest performances since arriving in Glasgow in 2022.

The £5m signing was hailed as a “high quality” player by former sporting director Ross Wilson and this term, he has scored twice and grabbed an assist, while looking like he could be the heir to Barisic’s throne.

CM – John Lundstram

The Englishman is out of contract in a couple of months, but his recent performances under the 49-year-old coach indicate that he should be offered a new deal.

He has missed only one game thus far under the new regime and this was due to injury, proving that he is the first name on the team sheet, and he will start against Hearts.

CM – Mohamed Diomande

The January arrival opened the scoring last week with an excellent long-range effort which nestled in the St Johnstone net, and it was the goal which certainly eased the nerves.

He deserves another start tomorrow and, along with Lundstram, the duo could pull the strings in the heart of the midfield against the Tynecastle outfit.

RW – Ross McCausland

Former Aberdeen winger Scott Wright was given a rare start against the Saints last Sunday – only his seventh of the season – but he failed to take his opportunity.

The Scot took just 21 touches, completed only eight passes and lost possession nine times in what was a performance lacking any sort of willingness to make something happen.

Ross McCausland will therefore come into the starting XI to replace him, and he has been a much bigger threat in front of goal this term.

The 20-year-old has scored twice and provided three assists for the senior side since October, and he will only get better with age.

AM – Todd Cantwell

Another player who has seen his performances improve under Clement, especially domestically.

The English midfielder has scored five goals in his previous nine league matches and he is flourishing in the number ten role of late, showcasing his attacking qualities.

Another excellent display against Hearts could maybe even see him score yet again in the top flight.

LW – Oscar Cortes

Abdallah Sima is not yet ready to return to the first team yet, while Rabbi Matondo missed the clash against the Saints and this could mean Cortes starts for the second week in a row.

He has yet to score for the Ibrox side but is not without trying. Indeed, across his four league appearances, the 20-year-old has created a big chance and averaged 1.5 key passes per game, decent statistics considering he has averaged only 44 minutes per game.

ST – Fabio Silva

The on-loan striker has scored twice so far for the Light Blues, and he will once again start in place of Cyriel Dessers.

The Nigerian hitman has missed a staggering 20 big chances in the Premiership this season and while he does score the odd goal, his finishing skills are poor, to say the least.

With this in mind, Silva will be given another chance to add to his solitary league effort against the Jambos tomorrow and a goal would further endear him to the Ibrox faithful.

Predicted Rangers starting XI vs Hearts in full (4-2-3-1) – GK – Butland; RB – Tavernier, CB – Goldson, CB – Souttar, LB – Yilmaz; CM – Lundstram, CM – Diomande; RW – McCausland, AM – Cantwell, LW – Cortes; ST - Silva

2024-02-24T07:56:54Z dg43tfdfdgfd