A war of words between Steve Clarke and Steven Gerrard promises to add another dimension to the Scottish Cup tie at Rugby Park
Rangers turn their attention to the Scottish Cup on Saturday, when they travel to face Kilmarnock.
Steven Gerrard’s side took a firm grip of second place in the Premiership in midweek as they defeated Aberdeen 4-2 away from home, yet they are in search of their first silverware since winning the league in 2011.
Kilmarnock, meanwhile, have enjoyed a fine season under Steve Clarke but have seen their momentum checked in the last week, losing to Hearts then drawing with Dundee on Wednesday.
|Game||Kilmarnock vs Rangers|
|Date||Saturday, February 9|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the UK, the game will be shown on Premier Sports 1. It can be streamed on Premier Player.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports 1||Premier Player|
|Goalkeepers||MacDonald, Bachmann, Mackay|
|Defenders||Findlay, Bruce, Broadfoot, Boyd, Higgins, Taylor, Waters, O’Donnell, Millen|
|Midfielders||Mulumbu, Tshibola, Dicker, Power, Burke, Jones, Frizzell|
|Forwards||Ndjoli, McKenzie, McAleny, Boyd, Millar|
Kilmarnock are likely to be without Eamonn Brophy due to his ongoing battle with injury.
Kris Boyd, however, can feature after serving a two-game ban following a red card but faces competition with Conor McAleny to start, with the latter having netted on his debut against Dundee in midweek.
Possible Kilmarnock starting XI: Bachmann; O’Donnell, Boyd, Findlay, Taylor; Mulumbu, Dicker, Power; Burke, McAleny, Jones
|Goalkeepers||McGregor, Foderingham, Firth|
|Defenders||Tavernier, Flanagan, McCrorie, Katic, Barisic, Worrall, McAuley, Goldson|
|Midfielders||Jack, Halliday, Coulibaly, Arfield, Davis|
|Forwards||Candeias, Morelos, Lafferty, Middleton, Defoe, Kent|
Rangers will have to do without Alvaro Morelos following his latest red card in midweek, though the forward will be replaced by the experienced Jermain Defoe.
While Conor Goldson is back in the fold after injury, Steven Gerrard has his usual string of absentees, with Jamie Murphy, Graham Dorrans and Eros Grezda all missing. Glen Kamara and Matt Polster will not be available to debut.
Possible Rangers starting XI: McGregor; Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Halliday; Arfield, McCrorie, Jack; Candeias, Defoe, Kent
Rangers are warm 3/4 favourites with Bet365. Meanwhile, Kilmarnock can be backed at 15/4, while a draw is priced at 5/2.
Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
There has already been history between Rangers and Kilmarnock in 2019, with a war of words between respective managers Steven Gerrard and Steve Clarke bringing additional spice to what promises to be an intriguing fixture.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Killie ran out 2-1 winners at Rugby Park on league business and they head into Saturday’s meeting with the aim of repeating that success.
Rangers, meanwhile, will go in additionally focused after Clarke made public his belief that forward Jermain Defoe should be watching this tie from the stands.
Although the former England international was cleared of diving during last weekend’s match against St Mirren by the SPFL, the former Chelsea coach had previously called for him to be suspended for two matches after Jordan Jones was similarly punished in October.
“There was a media furore — a witch hunt against the player,” he complained. “There’s been nothing on the same scale from Saturday’s game, Rangers versus St Mirren.
“I just want consistency. So if our player gets a two-game ban, I look forward to seeing what happens this week.”
Gerrard responded by hitting out at Clarke, who had previously coached him at Liverpool.
“Why he’s trying to get one of my players banned, is a surprise and a disappointment,” he said. “He is usually first class, the dealings I had with him as a player when he used to coach me, and since I’ve been at Rangers. So I’m very surprised by his comments and I don’t think there’s any need for them at all.”
On the field, Clarke’s side have held their own against Rangers this season, picking up four points from their two league meetings, though they were defeated 3-1 in the League Cup back in August as Alfredo Morelos grabbed a hat-trick.
Given all that has passed between the clubs over the course of the last fortnight, a repeat would be particularly sweet for Gerrard and his men.
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