COMMENT by Russell Edge
Rangers return to Ibrox on Saturday for their clash with Hearts for the first time since their humiliating Old Firm derby defeat to Celtic.
The 5-1 defeat was a tough result for the Gers fans to take, and they will be hoping to see a better performance from their side against fifth placed Hearts.
Manager Pedro Caixinha will also be hoping for an improvement after his players scraped a win away to Partick Thistle in their last game, a match in which they looked bereft of attacking quality.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things fans can expect to see from Rangers in Saturday’s clash.
A Foderingham clean sheet
Hearts have been on a disappointing best run of form lately, with just one win in their last seven games. In addition, their away form has been pretty abysmal for the whole season, with just three wins and 18 goals scored on their travels in the league.
Rangers meanwhile have impressed at home, minus the Celtic result, and have suffered just two defeats at Ibrox all season, conceding 15 goals.
Hearts have failed to score in their last four away games and fans can expect this record to continue. Wes Foderingham was one of a few bright lights in the 2-1 win over Partick Thistle, and he will be hoping to replicate his impressive performance.
Garner to go bananas
Striker Joe Garner was the hero on Sunday, scoring a last-minute winner to send the travelling fans into raptures.
Garner was the most effective attacker for Rangers at Firhill, and dominated the Thistle defence with his physicality and aerial ability.
The late strike will have boosted both his and his team-mates’ confidence and those watching on can expect to see another impressive performance from the 29-year-old.
However it may not just be his goal tally that increases on Saturday – he has picked up three yellow cards in his last six matches. He also picked one up in Rangers’ 2-0 win over Hearts back in December, so do not be surprised to see his name go into the referees book.
The gap to Aberdeen close
Second placed Aberdeen take on league leaders Celtic on Friday night hoping to stop the Hoops’ unbeaten run in the league. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side have looked imperious in these latter stages of the season and can be expected to deal with a side sitting 27 points behind them.
This will give Rangers the chance to close the gap on the Dons down to six points with victory over Hearts, and that motivation should see Caixinha’s side pull it off.
Rangers take on Aberdeen in their next fixture after Saturday afternoon’s clash, so the chance to inch ever closer will be right there in their hands.
- Football Insider verdict: Rangers 3 – 0 Hearts
In other Rangers news, Football Insider has given their thoughts on the Gers’ best starting XI against Hearts.