Europa League qualifiers: Predicted Rangers XI to face FK Shkupi
Rangers will kick off their 2018/19 season with the first leg of their UEFA Europa League qualifiers against Macedonian top-flight club FK Shkupi on Thursday night.
The Gers have started brilliantly under Steven Gerrard, thrashing English club Bury 6-0 in their pre-season friendly earlier this week. Having crashed out of the first qualifier round under Pedro Caixinha last time, the Light Blues will be looking to improve and take a step closer to the group stages of the Europa League.
Ahead of the big season opener against the Macedonians, let’s take a look as to how the Gers might line up at the Ibrox.
Manager: Steven Gerrard
Allan McGregor (GK)
After returning to the club, the 36-year-old made his first appearance against Bury and he should be in line for a start against Shkupi on Thursday night.
James Tavernier (RB)
The English full-back was one of Rangers’ most consistent performers last season and he should be an obvious pick in the starting XI ahead of Lee Hodson.
Connor Goldson (CB)
Having joined from Brighton & Hove Albion this summer, the 25-year-old Goldson has impressed in two pre-season friendlies so far and he should be a guaranteed starter for the qualifiers.
Nikola Katic (CB)
Another summer signing, the 21-year-old has also looked the part for his new club as he scored in the game against Bury. Should partner Goldson on Thursday.
Declan John (LB)
The Welsh left-back was left out for Jon Flanagan in the previous game but he should return to the starting XI, having been the Gers’ standout player from the last term.
Ross McCrorie (DM)
The young Scotsman has been highly impressive so far in his fledgeling career but he must take it up a notch under Gerrard. Judging by the pre-season friendlies, he should be the first-choice in the holding midfield position.
Josh Windass (RW)
The former Accrington Stanley man caused all sorts of problems for the Bury defence starting out on the right flank. Should be retained in the same position after that performance.
Greg Docherty (CM)
The 21-year-old wasn’t part of the starting line-up in the last game but he made a brief cameo. Hence, he must replace Daniel Candeias, who started in an unnatural central midfield role last time out.
Scott Arfield (CM)
Having joined on a free transfer this summer, the Canadian international has already slotted into the Rangers’ setup and grabbed a double in the win over Bury. Should start again in the heart of the park.
Jamie Murphy (LW)
Having impressed on loan last season, Murphy has carried on from where he left off. A strong performance against Bury, capped with a goal, should give him great confidence ahead of Thursday’s fixture.
Alfredo Morelos (ST)
Colombian forward Alfredo Morelos will be the obvious choice for Gerrard up front.