Rangers v Hearts: Who replaces Ikpeazu? | Midfield options | Gers on winless run

Steven MacLean could be restored to the starting line-up tonight. Picture: SNS Group
Steven MacLean could be restored to the starting line-up tonight. Picture: SNS Group
0
Have your say

Hearts travel to Ibrox tonight looking for a vital three points in their battle for a European berth come the end of the season.

The Jambos are without striker Uche Ikpeazu, who is left out after suffering a nasty bang to the head towards the end of the 2-1 win over Aberdeen at the weekend, with the former Cambridge United forward joining Steven Naismith, Michael Smith and Ben Garuccio on the sidelines.

Attacking trio Aidan Keena, Steven MacLean and David Vanecek will be hoping to replace Ikpeazu in tonight's starting line-up while Harry Cochrane, who started the last match against Rangers at Tynecastle, may be hoping for a recall to the starting XI.

Rangers have their own selection concerns with left-back options Borna Barisic and Andy Halliday both out through injury and suspension respectively, while Alfredo Morelos is also banned for this game, with Jermain Defoe likely to start in his place.

Midfielder Glen Kamara is set to return to the starting line-up at the expense of Ross McCrorie while there could be squad recalls for Eros Grezda and Glenn Middleton.

Victory for Hearts combined with defeats for Aberdeen and Kilmarnock tonight would see the Jambos leapfrog Aberdeen and move to within one point behind third-place Killie.

Injuries / suspensions / unavailable

Rangers: Borna Barisic (hamstring), Graham Dorrans, Jamie Murphy (both recovery); Andy Halliday (suspended), Alfredo Morelos (suspended)

Hearts: Ben Garuccio (knee), Uche Ikpeazu (head knock), Demetri Mitchell (knee), Steven Naismith (knee), Michael Smith (thigh), Clevid Dikamona (doubtful)

Possible teams

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Worrall, Flanagan, Kamara, Jack, Candeias, Arfield, Kent, Defoe. Subs from: Foderingham, Katic, Coulibaly, Davis, McCrorie, Lafferty, Grezda, Middleton.

Hearts: Zlamal, Shaughnessy, Souttar, Berra, Brandon, Haring, Djoum, Mulraney, Clare, Wighton, MacLean. Subs from: Doyle, Godinho, Bozanic, Lee, Cochrane, Keena, Vanecek.

Magic number - 5

Rangers have gone five games without a win in all competitions.

Key battle

Christophe Berra will have a job on his hands keeping Jermain Defoe quiet as the on-loan Bournemouth forward looks to step up in the absence of Alfredo Morelos.

Rangers danger men

Daniel Candeias is a threat on the right-hand side and can chip in with goals while Ryan Kent, assuming he is available, can also cause problems on the opposite flank. Up front, Jermain Defoe needs little introduction.

Key stats

Hearts are without a top-flight win at Ibrox since March 2012, and without a league win since August 2014, when a late Osman Sow goal gave Hearts a 2-1 win in the Championship. Hearts have recorded just one draw on the road, winning seven and losing seven away from Tynecastle. Rangers on the other hands have lost just one home game all season but four of their nine draws have come at Ibrox.

Referee

Kevin Clancy takes charge of this game, and will be assisted by Graeme Stewart and Graeme Leslie. John McKendrick is on fourth-official duties.