An exciting opening game in the Scottish Premiership will be taking place this Sunday, as Rangers take on Kilmarnock at their Rugby Park Stadium. The two sides finished side-by-side in the table last season, with Rangers taking the upper hand in 2nd as they led their 3rd-placed opponents by eleven points. The away side will be hoping to knock Celtic off their throne this season, with the reigning champions looking to secure their ninth consecutive title. These two sides met each other six times last season and throughout these fixtures, three ended in draws, Rangers picked up one win and Kilmarnock won the remaining two.
Kilmarnock will be praying for better form this weekend after being struck with a handful of poor results in their latest fixtures. Over the last four games, they have secured just one victory alongside two defeats and one draw. The first of the four fixtures saw them face Gaz Metan, who held the Scottish side to a 0-0 draw, who then suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat to Dinamo Bucuresti. Kilmarnock did manage to secure a win in their following game against Connah’s Quay Nomads, who they beat 2-1 in the Europa League Qualifiers, but they went onto to lose the second leg 2-0 which saw them lose 3-2 on aggregate. It’s fair to say the post-Steve Clarke era hasn’t got off to a good start.
Rangers will be feeling confident ahead of their opening game, as they have displayed far more impressive performances leading up to this meeting. Steven Gerrard’s men made light work of St Joseph’s, who they faced in the first round of their Europa League Qualifiers, securing a 4-0 win in the first leg, followed by a 6-0 win. Rangers then faced Blackburn Rovers, who they held to a 1-1 draw before beating Progres 2-0 in the Europa League qualifiers. Their 1-0 victory over Derby was then followed by securing their place in the next round of the Europa League after getting the better of Progres at the second time of asking.
The hosts have struggled in front of goal throughout their Europa League Qualifiers, but one of the few players that managed to score is forward Eamonn Brophy, who is expected to keep his spot upfront alongside Rory McKenzie. Kilmarnock’s side will mirror much of what we saw from them last season, with just two new signings being made in Mohamed El Makrini and Laurentiu Branescu.
Steven Gerrard has no injuries or suspensions to worry about ahead of this fixture, so will be able to front his strongest XI. Gerrard’s biggest dilemma is perhaps up front, with both Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe in good goalscoring form in recent weeks. Joe Airbo has also been in good form in midfield and should keep his spot alongside Sheyi Ojo, with the two new signings making an early impact at Ibrox.
These two sides made for close encounters last season, but after Kilmarnock’s disappointing outing in the Europa League Qualifiers, we are backing Rangers to take all three points. We fancy Steven Gerrard’s men to run away with both halves and bag themselves some goals in the process. Alfredo Morelos showed his quality in front of goal last season and throughout pre-season, so don’t be surprised to see the forward on the scoresheet.