Kilmarnock v Rangers predictions for Saturday’s match in the Scottish Premiership. Rangers face Kilmarnock in their Premiership curtain raiser. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.
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Match Live Saturday, 5th August at 5:15 pm In:
Kilmarnock vs Rangers Predictions
Scottish Premiership Opens with a Bang
– Despite losing just four games, Rangers fell short of the Premiership crown by seven points.
– Kilmarnock’s Innes Cameron and Rangers’ James Tavernier are likely candidates to score in the upcoming match, based on their current form.
The commencement of the 2023-24 Scottish Premiership brings to our screens an intriguing match between Kilmarnock and Rangers. Set to take place at the Rugby Park, this match marks the culmination of the opening weekend.
Last Season Recap: Kilmarnock and Rangers
Last season, Kilmarnock narrowly avoided relegation, finishing third from the bottom. With a meagre six-point gap keeping them out of the bottom two, they held on to their place in the Premiership. After their promotion in the 2021-22 season, their main goal was to keep their spot in the Premiership, and they achieved it, albeit with a struggle.
Despite experiencing 20 losses in their 38 league matches, they scraped together 11 wins and seven draws to finish six points clear of relegation. Their survival was largely due to a late surge of three victories in their final four matches. Following a dismal performance in the middle of the season, Derek McInnes’s side picked up the pace and finished the season on a high, winning five of their final nine games.
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On the other hand, the Glasgow giants, Rangers, finished second in the league, falling short by seven points to champions Celtic. Despite a stellar season, where they lost only four matches and scored a whopping 93 goals, they failed to claim the title. However, they will be coming into this new season with renewed vigour, aiming to claim the crown.
Preseason Performances: Kilmarnock and Rangers
This year, Kilmarnock opened their campaign with a resounding 3-0 victory over Annan Athletic in the Scottish League Cup. Subsequent wins against Dunfermline and Albion Rovers suggest they’re in good form and ready to put up a tough fight this season.
Rangers, however, had a lukewarm preseason. They managed to win just one of their four warm-up matches, losing to Newcastle United and Olympiacos, and securing a draw against Hoffenheim. However, the team displayed their spirit by pulling back from a 2-0 deficit to secure a draw in their last match, with second-half goals from James Tavernier and Sam Lammers.
Player Performances and New Transfers
Fraser Murray and Innes Cameron have started off the season well for Kilmarnock, with two goals and two assists, and two goals and one assist respectively. Also notable is the contribution from defender Stuart Findlay, who has managed to score two goals. Meanwhile, Rangers have seen significant changes in their lineup with the departure of key players like Alfredo Morelos, Allan McGregor, and Filip Helander. However, new additions like Jack Butland and Kieran Dowell have brought a breath of fresh air to the team.
Offensive and Defensive Strategies
Rangers’ strategy in recent matches has been built on a high-pressing and high-intensity game. They often deploy a 4-3-3 formation, which provides them with width and depth in attack. The players press in unison to win back possession and attack in numbers, stretching the opposition defence. Despite their aggressive attacking, they have a strong backline, which tends to sit deep and absorb pressure when required. However, they have struggled with maintaining clean sheets in their recent away games, conceding in five of their final six away games last term and in all four of their pre-season outings.
On the other hand, Kilmarnock have shown resilience with their more conservative approach. Their usual 4-4-2 formation has allowed them to sit deep and frustrate opposition, transitioning into attack quickly when in possession. They have struggled against high-quality opposition but have managed to find the net in their recent games, which is a positive sign.
Impact of Management
The managerial skills of Rangers’ Gary Beale and Kilmarnock’s Tommy Wright reflect significantly on their teams’ performances. Beale’s emphasis on high-pressing and attacking football aligns with Rangers’ history and style of play. His recruitment of key players like Sam Lammers and Todd Cantwell, despite losing key assets, shows his proactive approach.
Tommy Wright, on the other hand, has managed to keep Kilmarnock competitive despite the gap in resources compared to top-tier teams like Rangers. His focus on a solid defence coupled with fast counter-attacks has yielded results, as seen in their League Cup games.
Rangers, despite conceding, have managed to win games due to their strong attacking prowess. They possess key players who can change the game in an instant. However, their defensive vulnerabilities, especially in away games, need to be addressed.
Kilmarnock, although not as strong in attack or defence as Rangers, have shown a good ability to find the back of the net recently. However, their defensive line will face a major test against Rangers’ potent attack.
Suggestions for Improvement
Rangers need to tighten their defence, especially in away games. Their high-pressing game can leave them vulnerable to counter-attacks, something Kilmarnock can potentially exploit.
For Kilmarnock, the challenge lies in dealing with Rangers’ high-pressing game. They need to ensure they do not get overwhelmed and lose their defensive shape.
Pros and Cons
Rangers’ high-pressing game can overwhelm opponents, leading to goal-scoring opportunities. But this aggressive approach can leave them exposed to counter-attacks, especially against teams that are good at quick transitions.
Kilmarnock’s defensive approach can frustrate opponents and create opportunities for counter-attacks. However, against a team like Rangers, their defensive line will be under constant pressure, and any lapses can be costly.
Predictions for the Match
1. Match Outcome: Rangers to Win
The foundation for the prediction of a Rangers victory can be traced back to the performance of both teams in their previous encounters and their recent forms. Historically, the Glasgow giants have had a superior head-to-head record against Kilmarnock, winning their last six encounters. The stark contrast in quality and ambition between the two teams is also evident in their recent form, with Kilmarnock just managing to avoid relegation, while Rangers, on the other hand, have been fighting at the top for the Premiership title.
Even though Kilmarnock have started the new season on a positive note, beating Annan Athletic, Dunfermline and Albion Rovers in the Scottish League Cup, these victories have been against relatively weaker opponents compared to Rangers. In addition, the significant squad and personnel changes over the summer at Kilmarnock can impact team cohesion, which might take some time to gel together.
Rangers, in contrast, despite losing a few key players, have strengthened their squad with several experienced reinforcements. They have not enjoyed an ideal pre-season, but the quality of opponents they faced was much higher, providing them with good preparation for the Premiership campaign. Their comeback in the last match against Hoffenheim to draw 2-2 shows that their fighting spirit is still very much alive.
2. Correct Score Prediction: 2-0 to Rangers
With a formidable offensive line that bagged 93 goals last season, Rangers have shown time and again that they can be a goal-scoring machine. However, the loss of key players like Alfredo Morelos, Allan McGregor, Filip Helander, Antonio Colak, Scott Arfield, and Ryan Kent could result in a slight reduction in their attacking prowess. But the fresh reinforcements brought in by Beale could compensate for this loss.
On the other hand, Kilmarnock struggled to find the back of the net in the last season, scoring just 37 goals in 38 games. Furthermore, Rangers’ solid defence, which conceded only 37 goals last term, is likely to keep Kilmarnock’s attack at bay. Therefore, a 2-0 victory for Rangers seems a likely outcome considering these factors.
3. Goalscorer Prediction: Sam Lammers
Rangers’ Sam Lammers has shown his goal-scoring prowess in their last pre-season friendly against Hoffenheim, indicating that he is in good form. With the exit of Rangers’ former key attacking players, Lammers has a golden opportunity to step up and make his mark. Being part of an aggressive Rangers’ offence that is known to create numerous chances, Lammers’ chances of finding the back of the net in this match seem promising.
Given Kilmarnock’s struggling defence, which conceded a staggering 62 goals last season, it is reasonable to predict that a sharpshooter like Lammers will likely get on the scoresheet in the opening match of the 2023-24 Scottish Premiership season.
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