Rangers and Kilmarnock are set to reignite a recent rivalry that has become quite intense over the last few weeks. The last time these two sides met, the post-match coverage was dominated by Killie gaffer Steve Clarke’s criticism of the sectarian abuse he received when his team were beaten 5-0 at Ibrox last month in a Scottish Cup replay. The rights or wrongs of his outburst are for debate elsewhere, but he is sure to receive a ‘warm’ welcome from the Ibrox hordes on Saturday.
Neither side is in great form at the moment, with Rangers heading into this game having not won in their last three games in all competitions. They were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Aberdeen in midweek, all but ending their hopes of silverware this season. Kilmarnock scored their first goal and achieved their first victory in five games in all competitions away at St Mirren last weekend.
Rangers vs Kilmarnock Prediction: Rangers 2-1 Killie
If Rangers’ own confidence had not been dented by their midweek defeat to Aberdeen, it would have been easier to predict the outcome of this match. As things stand, Rangers will probably still beat a Killie side who have been in awful form over the last month or so, but the Light Blues might not be at their fluent best. Gers gaffer Steven Gerrard will probably be pleased with any kind of victory, and we suspect that the away team will manage to score. Home advantage is powerful for the Gers at Ibrox, though, and it will carry them to a narrow win.
Our recommended tip: Rangers, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from William Hill, who are offering odds of 2/1 on Rangers to win and both teams to score. This matches our prediction of a 2-1 win for Rangers, but also gives you certain amount of flexibility when it comes to the precise final score in the game. Rangers are pretty big favourites to win the match at all bookies, so this bet adds a little value for punters who want to back a home win. Killie have been in terrible form in recent weeks, and it is hard to see them winning this game.
These two sides have played each other once in the League Cup, twice in the Scottish Premiership, and twice in the Scottish Cup so far this season.
The first clash of the season came on August 19 at Rugby Park in the League Cup round of 16. Rangers won 3-1. The first league game was on October 31 at Ibrox, and ended 1-1. The next league encounter was at Rugby Park, and Killie won 2-1.
The two Cup games have been in the fifth round of the competition. The first game, at Rugby Park on February 9, finished 0-0. Rangers won the replay 5-0.
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Players to watch: Alfedo Morelos & Liam Millar
Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos is a controversial figure, but he keeps scoring goals for the Light Blues. He also has a fine record against Kilmarnock this season. In the Gers’ five games in all competitions against the Ayrshire side, Morelos has netted eight goals. The Colombian was called up to play for his country again this week. Given that he has netted 28 goals in 43 games in all competitions this season, he might not be at Ibrox much longer.
Killie’s Canadian striker Liam Millar, currently on loan at Rugby Park from Premier League giants Liverpool, ended his club’s goal drought last weekend with his strike at St Mirren. The goal, the only one of the game, also ended Killie’s recent winless run. In his five games since joining Killie in January, Millar has looked impressive. Ibrox will give a him a big stage on which to show his skills.