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Discussion Starter #1
Tough match at Kilmarnock this weekend and I'd expect alot of changes to the starting line-up. They gave us a good game at Ibrox and should be up for this one again.

Recently though Killie have been pants. They've lost their last 4 matches, sometimes heavily. They are either there for another hiding or ready to change their fortunes around.

  • 0-3 Dundee United (Away)
  • 2-3 Aberdeen (Away)
  • 1-3 Livingston (Home)
  • 1-4 Dunfermline (Away)
Good news for Rangers is that Stevie Thompson and Chris Burke are back in the side. McLeish will hopefully go back to a 4-4-2. I'm hoping among the changes are young Smith and Hutton coming in for Vignal and Khizanishvili with Alex Rae returning to midfield ahead of Malcolm. Malcolm might keep a place though ahead of Mladenovic.

Novo is not available so Arveladze will probably start up front with Prso, I personally would rather see Thompson start.
 

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The fact that Killie have been so sh!t lately makes a bit more optimistic. As you may or may not have noticed, my prediction for this game before Wed. was a 5-0 win. I've now revised that to 3-1, but that still might be verging on the optimistic. I'm half expecting this to be like the ICT game the other week. Hopefully i'm wrong and the players will come out all guns blazing with something to prove.

I can't see Burke starting the game. Thompson has a better chance, although I still have my doubts. Mladenovic really has to break into the team now. He was McLeish's most expensive summer purchase ffs. Malcolm hasn't really done a lot wrong, but he's a plodder and he'll never be anything more. I can't understand why Rae wasn't playing on Wednesday. Is there something going on that we don't know about? On a night where we needed commitment, a die-hard Rangers fan was left on the bench.

If Thompson doesn't make it Arveladze would play up front as chivo said, but that would give us problems for who to play on the left of midfield. Namouchi would be a (very bad) option, and maybe Vignal would be considered (the guy's attacking abilities far outweigh his defensive ones). I'd like to see a central midfield of Mladenovic and Rae, with Ricksen on the right.

We'll more than likely be 4 points adrift by kick-off so, again, three points are essential.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I read the interview on the official siet with Mladenovic and he says some interesting things.

According to him he is not used to having injuries but playing 50 games last season for Red Star and then being away in Japan with the NT gave him only 10 days rest before preseason started. That must have taken it's toll and hopefully the rest will bring him back stronger than we saw him at the start of the season.

More importantly though he talks about the style of play. He says he is used to playing football and passing along the deck whereas in Scotland it is all high balls. That could be why he is finding it hard to adjust too. Personally I'd rather see Rangers adapt to his type of football than the other way around.

I agree with everything you say exept Malcolm. He showed on Wednesday and in Alkmaar exactly why Rangers fans used to get on his back. On Wednesday there were a couple of times he played some fantastic long passes and that's what he is capable of. At other times though he was way too casual and very sloppy giving the ball away too easily. I get the feeling he's in the comfort zone and needs reminding that he is not a first team regular when we are injury free.

I would play this line-up, but I know it won't happen:

Code:
               Klos

Hutton         Andrews       Boumsong         Smith

Ricksen        A.Rae          Mladenovic        Vignal 

                 Prso             Thompson
I can't see Burke starting but I am really worried that he will start and McLeish will put him wide left where he is least effective. Thompson probably won't start either but that would be my line-up based on the 4-4-2.

If I had free reign however I'd play like this:

Code:
               Klos

        Andrews      Khizanishvili    Boumsong         

Hutton                                              Vignal
 
                       Mladenovic 
       
            Ricksen                     A.Rae          

            Prso                        Thompson
 

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I know what you're saying about Malcolm, but i've never really rated the guy, so when he does make mistakes i'm not surprised. I think it was a disgraceful decision to award him a new contract. I found it incredible that McLeish gave him the contract and was then quoted in the papers' as saying that he now had to show that he could improve his game. Hello!!! :wallbang: Alex, you've got that the wrong way round. First he should be improving and then you give him the contract.

Also, when all our midfielders are fit he should be behind Ricksen, A. Rae, Mladenovic, and G. Rae in the pecking order for a central midfield spot. Why waste money on giving the guy a new contract when we're hopefully not going to need him. I'd also be hoping that McLeish is still looking to strengthen the midfield.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That was a daft move. I think the injuries at the time must have prompted it and he was actually playing well. Maybe getting that contract has been a bad thing. With the resigning fee it looks like he's bought himself a comfy new couch to lounge on during matchday. Problem is it's so big it can accomodate his pals Lovenkrands, Vignal, Namouchi and Zurab.

I'd like to see at least one more midfielder come in. Looking at the squad though we need more bodies in general to bolster the squad. This season we brought in 6 players :

Jean-Alain Boumsong, Alex Rae, Dado Prso, Marvin Andrews, Dragan Mladenovic and Nacho Novo.

But we let go 9 leaving a shortfall of 3 players:

Michael Mols, Henning Berg, Ronald DeBoer, Frank DeBoer, Mikel Arteta, Nuno Capucho, Emerson, Christian Nerlinger and Egil Ostenstad

As if that was not bad enough excluding the players that came and went last season we only brought in 3 additional players that would level things up.

Paolo Vanoli, Gavin Rae and Zurab Khizanishvili

Not so. At the start of that season when we were still treble holders we let go of 8 players.

Claudio Caniggia, Jerome Bonnissel, Arthur Numan, Bert Konterman, Lorenzo Amoruso, Neil McCann, Kevin Muscat and Barry Ferguson

In total from the squad we had at the end of the 2002/03 season to the squad we have today 9 new players have come in and 17 have gone. If you put quality to one side for a moment our squad has been reduced in size by 8 players. It is little wonder that when we get injuries we are struggling to fill spaces.

Maybe this is why Malcolm was resigned- cheap squad player. It does show though that we need to add to the squad. If Ricksen, Moore, Ball and Arveladze are to go then it's not just a case of replacing them but also adding at the same time. This may be the thoughts behind bringing in players like Namouchi, Fetai, Kalenga and Carcary to the reserve side then promoting later.
 

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Personally I hope not to see the Georgians in the line-up again, since Arveladze was once again invisible wednesday, and Zurabs errors led to the goals initially.
I think Hutton and Smith should be given a chance as should Thomson, if he's fit that is. After wednesdays result I can't be bothered to predict anymore, at least for now :stress: 'Mon the Gers!
 

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Just as well one of the Georgian's is playing. 1-0 at half-time, Arveladze scoring after 16 minutes. Supposed to be a really good finish. The problem with Shota is that he is too inconsistent. Glad to see Hutton back at right-back in place of Khizanishvili. This game's not over yet though...
 

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Full-time: Kilmarnock 0-1 Rangers (Arveladze 16) Bookings: Nish, Murray; A.Rae.

Second half went much the same as the first. Not a lot in it. Killie had chances to equalise and Rangers could have increased their lead. Thompson and Burke came on for Namouchi and Prso respectively. Back to one point in it at the top. Next up, Motherwell at Ibrox on the 27th.

P.S. James Traynor is just explaining that Alex McLeish is in charge of a really dodgy outfit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Namouchi needs a break from the first team after being posted missing again. I think McLeish is maybe asking a bit much of him because he is still young and not long back from injury. He has shown signs that he is going to be a decent player for us in the future but like Fetai, Kalenga and Carcary he's supposed to be nurtured over the next few years for first team football rather than thrown right in.

Both sides of the old firm scraped their 3 points at the weekend which is not surprising given that they are not playing at their best and ther others seem to be raising their game.

I was actually pleased with the line-up for this game and it's goos to see wee Burkey and big Stevie back to give us options. Big Dragan needs a few more games to get match fit and more importantly to get used to the style of football in the SPL.
 

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Another scraped win. It is good to get the points but they play awful for now :(

Steven Thompson- What is with his hair?? It gets worse every time I see it!!!
 

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Another rotten game.

Bonus points being the performance of Hutton who surely deserves a place ahead of Zurab and the return of Chris Burke, who to be fair hardly touched the ball when he came on. Unfortunately the team is still famished of quality and a good bit away from the finished article.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
annax said:
Steven Thompson- What is with his hair?? It gets worse every time I see it!!!
I think h must have spent too long living up in Dundee, that hairstyle is just coming into fashion there.
 

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Thompson's obviously seen me walking about badly in need of a haircut and thought I was making a fashion statement. I won't have the 'm' word associated with my hairdo though :mad: . Anyway, Prso's still got the worst hairdo at Ibrox. Gazza must get the all-time vote, or maybe Dave McPherson.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Peter Huistra's bowlcut was something to behold- not as bad as Roy Aitken's afro though.
 
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