Livingston Super Fan previews Rangers game
This is part of a regular series from our panel of Super Fans on upcoming Rangers games. Ahead of Rangers’ game against Sparta Prague in the Europa League, we caught up with Livingston Super @rankine_euan from the @TalkLivi podcast.
Rangers face Livingston on Sunday in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first league game in charge of the club.
Therefore, before the game, we managed to have a chat with Euan Rankine to discuss the game, the season so far and Steven Gerrard’s departure.
The reverse fixture of this game feels so long ago as it was the Bears’ opening league match of the season, and a lot has changed since that first meeting at both clubs.
What did you make of the first game at Ibrox?
The first game at Ibrox was always going to be difficult. We had a very disrupted pre-season due to Covid plus a massive turnover in players with 15 going and the same coming in. Add to that it was the first game at Ibrox with fans since Rangers were crowned champions. We offered very little in terms of threat, but I do think we limited Rangers to very little, with two of the goals coming late on after being forced down to ten men. Overall, it went as expected!
What have you made of Rangers so far this season?
I don’t think Rangers have shown that same relentlessness they did last season, and they look to be moving the ball a bit slower too. Defensively, they haven’t looked as sound either, and teams seem to be getting more joy against them. Having said that, they are still top of the league.
What have you made of Livingston’s start to the season?
As mentioned, we had a huge turnover in both the playing staff and backroom team over the summer and certainly the biggest since Martindale has been involved. Add to that, we’ve had issues with Covid, a hefty injury list, and Martindale tinkering with the system and playing a 4-3-3. We played four of the top six from last season in our opening six games which isn’t ideal given those issues. A phenomenal result against Celtic was followed up with three poor performances, which had a number of fans concerned, and we appeared to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. Since then, we’ve gone five games unbeaten (4 of which were on grass!), and we’ve started to see a bit of the Livi we’ve come to know over the last five/six years. Back to being very dogged despite numerous setbacks in the last few games to get points on the board.
Who should Rangers worry about on the Livi side?
In terms of threats from Livi, one of the players that has stood out is Odin Bailey. Coming in on loan from Birmingham, Odin took four or five games to get used to the Scottish game but since then has produced some superb displays, including grabbing a couple of goals and an assist in our recent run of results. Our most consistent performer has been someone Rangers fans know well, Jason Holt. Jason has been superb this season and, at times, can go under the radar. However, he does a great job for the team in terms of breaking the game up, and his experience has proved important at times this season. Bruce Anderson has settled back into the side in recent weeks after dropping out of the team. Similar to Bailey, he’s grabbed a couple of goals and an assist in our recent run and could cause Rangers problems running in behind.
Who worries you on the Rangers side?
We’ve had a bit of an issue defending cross balls and set plays the last couple of seasons (despite what the pundits would tell you). As a result, the delivery from the likes of Tavernier and Barisic could cause us a lot of problems. Trying not to allow Kamara and Davis to dictate the game will be important as well.
What did you think of Gerrard leaving?
Gerrard leaving is similar to when Rodgers left Celtic for Leicester in that it was a matter of time before they went down to the Premier League. He’s certainly improved Rangers, but for me, the jury is still out on him. one trophy in nine at Rangers isn’t a great return, and his signing record has been questionable at times. His record in Europe has been very good, and considering the state that he took over, he’s done well to overcome Celtic in that time.
What do you think of van Bronckhorst’s appointment?
I think it’s a good appointment on paper for Rangers, but he’s not been involved in the Scottish game for 20 years, so he could be in for a surprise. His record in Holland was excellent, and I’m led to believe he plays a similar set-up (4-3-3) to what Rangers typically play. That should help in terms of the speed of transition between managers.
Who will win the title?
I do think the Rangers will win the league, but I think it’ll be a lot closer this season. Despite our good results against Celtic this season, they are definitely a different animal under Postecoglou.
We appear to have turned a bit of a corner in recent weeks, and it gives me a bit of confidence going into this one. I can see us making it a tough afternoon and sneaking a 1-1 draw.
We would like to thank Euan for taking the time to speak to us about Livingston and the match on Sunday.
Certainly, the home side head into this game in decent form, unbeaten in their last five league matches, winning two of those, so it won’t be easy for GvB’s side at all.
Van Bronckhorst got off to the perfect start on Thursday night with a 2-0 win over Sparta Prague in the Europa League.
The Gers were dominant throughout and managed to keep a clean sheet, which is great.
They can take that confidence and that energy into the game on Sunday, and though it will be tough, it would be a surprise if the Bears didn’t leave with all three points in the bag.
After the thrill of Thursday, we can’t wait for this match to get started as the van Bronckhorst era gets underway at Ibrox.
In other Rangers news, Owen Hargreaves has lauded one Gers man after Thursday night’s display.