Pushing on in Paisley: St Mirren v Rangers

Match Analysis
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After a hard fought game in Warsaw, it's now back to league action for Rangers as they look to make it three wins on the spin in the Ladbrokes Premiership. The side are playing with style both domestically and in Europe, scoring goals and looking hard to break down at the back. But as we all know too well, our season was undone in 2018/19 thanks to below par results against the so-called poorer sides in the league. So with that in mind, let's take a look at where the game with St Mirren could be won and lost on Sunday.

Background to Game

Rangers are coming into the game on the back of a more than decent result in Europe and one they really could have taken a victory from. Steven Gerrard's men have also had a fair amount of games of late, four in less a fortnight, and come into it match sharp and ready to go with a pool of players big enough to rotate if needed. St Mirren's last outing was against Aberdeen a week past on Sunday, so they will be well-rested and hopefully slightly rusty ahead of the lunchtime kick-off.

Head to Head History

In 116 meetings over the years, Rangers have won 87 of them which shows the dominance we have over our colleagues in Paisley. In fact, over the past few years we have had plenty of meetings with the Buddies both in the Championship and then in the top flight. We welcomed a then-Alan Stubbs led St Mirren to Ibrox for the first home game of the season and swatted them aside in the first half before going a man down when Ross McCrorie was sent off.

We have won five of our last six and drawn the other against St Mirren, scoring 15 goals in the process and that all makes for welcome reading before we travel to face Jim Goodwin's side on Sunday.

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The Opponent

St Mirren had a topsy-turvy campaign last season by all accounts. The disastrous appointment of the aforementioned Stubbs almost cost them their place in the Premiership before it had even really started. Oran Kearney came in and, again, couldn't get the team playing - that was until nearer the end of the campaign when they finally found a bit of form and managed to avoid a dreaded relegation scenario.

But it proved to be an utterly bizarre summer and it was almost a will he, won't he situation with Kearney as rumours circulated he would leave. After weeks and with the new season on the horizon, the Northern Irishman did head back to his homeland in what turned out to be a pretty bitter affair as he and chairman Gordon Scott resorted to mud-slinging in the media.

Following that bombshell, though, Jim Goodwin took the reigns and has done a decent enough job so far. The former Alloa boss made a great impression at the Indodrill and looks set to continue that in Paisley - especially if they can build on some promising opening performances.

Form

The Buddies narrowly lost out to Hibs in the opening game of the league season following a disappointing run in the Betfred Cup where they were sent crashing out at the group stage. But they managed to rally following the early setbacks and produced a great performance to beat a sorry Aberdeen team in Paisley. That's why it's key Rangers must respect their opponents this Sunday - they have shown they are capable of providing a shock.

Dangerman

Kyle Magennis remains a hot prospect for St Mirren and is a shining light in their team. He has skill, pace and eye for goal and he's certainly one to look out for in this Saints side.

Rangers

As I have said a few times this season, we are a good team. If we turn up and play how we can, we should be beating every team in this league. But this is going to be a good test this weekend because, as mentioned previously in the article, it's the sort of game which, last season, we'd have potentially dropped silly points. As we saw against Kilmarnock, if we drop off in a game we can be punished - but what was also so great about that game was that we found a solution to it.

We now have more skill middle to front in terms of breaking teams down in the final third with the likes of Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo hitting the ground running. We also have players like Scott Arfield and Jordan Jones who can feed Jermaine Defoe and Alfredo Morelos up top. We are in a good position, with a good squad of players and with a huge week on the horizon, it would be no surprise to see Steven Gerrard shuffle the pack.

The likes of Greg Stewart and Jones are the players who should be appearing in these sorts of games this weekend. They are proven Premiership players and should be able to go to St Mirren and put on a show - but for Stewart I'm not convinced he yet has the full trust of the management team to be starting in tough away fixtures. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Andy King handed his first start in the game in a three man midfield with Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo. The likes of Steven Davis and Ryan Jack could perhaps do with a slight rest before next week's double header with Legia Warsaw and then Celtic. I think Gerrard will make changes for the game but the squad depth is such it should have a major impact on the team.

Predicted line-up (4-3-3):


Predicted score

St Mirren 0-2 Rangers

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