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Windass Retuns, Dodoo starts – Predicted 4-3-3 Rangers Line-Up Against Aberdeen

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Rangers’ unbeaten league run since September came to an abrupt end on Wednesday as Mark Warburton’s side slumped to a timid 2-0 defeat against a hungrier Hearts side at Tynecastle. Two goals from 20-year old Scottish striker Robbie Muirhead either side of half-time were enough as Hearts leapfrogged Rangers to go second in the league table. While Warburton has admitted that the title challenge is certainly out of their reach, he remained adamant that his side are capable enough to finish second and qualify for the Europa League.

A third league defeat left Rangers in a precarious position as they prepare to host fourth-placed Aberdeen, a side just two points adrift but having a comfortable two games in hand. Rangers have won just once in seven league games against sides that finished in the top six last season and it is a record that requires urgent attention as they face another massive test at the Ibrox on Saturday.

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Mark Warburton has come in for heavy criticism from Rangers’ supporters for being too rigid with his tactics and a failure to recognise that he doesn’t have the players to play an offensive 4-3-3 formation. Fans hoping for a rejig shouldn’t hold much hope though as Warburton has time and again stated that he won’t be forced into a radical change in his philosophy.

On the injuries front, midfielder Josh Windass and veteran defender Clint hill remain injury concerns. Windass came off at half-time against Partick Thistle with a hamstring problem and missed the trip to Hearts midweek. Jordan Rossiter and Niko Kranjcar are already ruled out.

Formation: 4-3-3

Wes Foderingham

Competition with Matt Gilks has pushed Foderingham “hard”, or so it seems in the words of the Rangers’ first-choice goalkeeper. Pulled off a fine save from Bjorn Johnsen’s header, but needs to avoid controversial moments such as the one against Hearts when he appeared to pick the ball outside the box.

James Tavernier

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A real standout performer for Mark Warburton last season, Tavernier has experienced a difficult start in the top flight. The former Newcastle United trainee was caught out far too often against Hearts and was largely responsible for both the goals Rangers conceded. Will have to pull up his socks for questions have started arising regarding his future at Ibrox.

Rob Kiernan

The centre-back pairing is expected to remain intact, despite enduring a tough night at Tynecastle. Rob Kiernan struggled to contain an in-form Bjorn Johnsen as the American striker wrecked havoc in the Rangers defence. Lost his temper and gave a real roasting to James Tavernier for allowing Muirhead a free header for the second time in the match.

Danny Wilson

Like his centre-back partner Rob Kiernan, Danny Wilson too suffered a tough time coping up with the menace in the form of Bjorn Johnsen. The former Hearts’ captain was partly at fault for the second goal his side conceded on the night but should keep his place unless Clint Hill gets the nod from the medical staff.

Lee Wallace

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The thrill of scoring the winner at Partick Thistle was short-lived as the Rangers’ captain suffered a miserable time on his return to former club Hearts. If there ever was a time for the skipper to stand up and motivate his team, it is now.

Andy Halliday

An industrial performer in central midfield for the Rangers, Andy Halliday provides plenty of energy and determination with a never-say-die approach and unquestionable loyalty. Sent in a curling effort from distance against Hearts and that just sums up another disappointing performance off late.

Jason Holt

Another Rangers’ player back at his old club, Holt struggled for momentum and was outplayed by the Hearts’ midfield. A lack of creativity has been a problem of concern for Rangers and in the absence of Jordan Rossiter, Holt has been found wanting. With Matt Crooks’ return after an 8 months injury layoff, Jason Holt’s spot could be under serious threat.

Josh Windass

Josh Windass came off at half-time against Partick Thistle with a hamstring trouble but was expected to be fit for the clash at Hearts. But it seems that on second thought, the Rangers’ medical staff preferred the club not taking the risk. There has been no further update regarding the same, but if Windass had a chance to feature on Wednesday, he’d be in with a shout for Saturday.

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Harry Forrester

A winner against Dundee has seen Forrester being rewarded with a string of starts. His direct running and skill has caused several problems to the opposition defences but tends to lack in the area of game awareness. Rangers were denied an equaliser because Forrester was caught directly blocking the view of the Hearts’ goalkeeper.

Kenny Miller

The veteran striker admitted that his side were always the second best at Tynecastle, but that’s just stating the obvious. Kenny Miller has been one of Rangers’ best performers this season and that says a lot about Rangers’ current squad. A rare poor outing for him against Hearts, although it was his shot that allowed Dodoo to pounce on for his chalked off goal.

Joe Dodoo

Rangers’ £1.8m summer acquisition from Preston North End Joe Garner has struggled so far in his stint in Scotland. Garner came off against Partick Thistle and was replaced by Joe Dodoo who scored twice to take Rangers to victory from a goal down. Rewarded for his showing, Dodoo started at Hearts and could’ve even had a goal had it not been for Harry Forrester being called for offside. With the pressure mounting on Warburton, expect Dodoo to once again get the nod ahead of the under-fire Garner.