This weekend in the Scottish Premier League the one game that is catching people’s eye is the Ibrox clash between Rangers and Kilmarnock. Steve Clarke’s side has been punching well above their weight ever since his appointment, and after ending an eight-game winless streak against St Mirren they’ll be ready for a tough battle against the Gers.
However, of all the sides to face when looking to build momentum in Scotland, the last two places you want to be travelling to for an away day are Ibrox and Parkhead. Steven Gerrard’s side will be after a bounce-back win following their Scottish Cup exit against Aberdeen in the week and with an out-of-sorts Killie coming to town, the Ibrox faithful will also be confident of walking away with the points.
Since his appointment at Ibrox over the summer, Gerrard has been desperate to prove his worth in the dugout. The former Liverpool and England captain dropped his role as the Anfield U18’s boss to move to Ibrox and so far the fans all love him. It doesn’t look like any silverware will be won in his first season with the Gers, yet that doesn’t mean his first full season as a gaffer in senior management isn’t a success.
Gerrard has certainly delivered some impressive and memorable moments in his short time in charge. Last summer saw the Bluenoses qualify for the Europa League group stages and he wasn’t done there, battling to a draw away at Villarreal and beating Rapid Wein at Ibrox. Domestically, though, things haven’t quite gone to plan though as Aberdeen have dumped Gerrard out of both domestic cups and Celtic remain out of site in the race for the Scottish Premier League title, and he’ll be targetting success next season for sure.
TT GRADE: B
At Rugby Park, it’s fair to say that Steve Clarke is something of a hero. The 55-year-old manager opted to take a year out of football following his departure as the Aston Villa assistant manager in late 2016 before he took up the chance to take the Killie job in October 2017. When the ex-Chelsea man took the job, his boyhood club was dead last in the Scottish Premier League, yet he had a huge impact in his first five months.
When the curtain came down on the 2017/18 season Clarke had lifted the Rugby Park faithful from 12th to 5th and the fans had renewed hope that the 2018/19 campaign could be a strong one. In all honesty, for most clubs in Scotland, finishing 3rd in the SPFL is the dream given the strength of Rangers and Celtic, yet this season the Killie fans have real aspirations of usurping at least Rangers in 2nd, and this was backed up by Clarke’s recent comments in The Daily Record.
TT GRADE: C
Whilst Steve Clarke will be desperate to do what Aberdeen managed in the week and overcome the Gers at Ibrox today, the strength of Steven Gerrard’s squad and the way that he’s had his side playing at times will be just too strong. It also plays against Steve Clarke that Gerrard is yet to lose back-to-back games in his career in senior management, and the Liverpool icon won’t be prepared to do so today.