AFTER seven games against Kilmarnock last season Steven Gerrard believes Rangers will face another tough test at Rugby Park on Sunday as they start the new Ladbrokes Premiership campaign in Ayrshire.
The Light Blues enjoyed just two victories over Steve Clarke’s side in 2018/19 and while Clarke is now in charge of the Scotland national team, Gerrard believes Killie’s new boss, Angelo Alessio, will have a similar approach and game plan when it comes to this weekend’s meeting.
The Gers manager, speaking at his pre-match press conference at the Hummel Training Centre this morning, said: “I think every time we played Kilmarnock at home or away last season it was a tough game, a competitive game.
Under Steve Clarke they had a way of playing which was very organised with a lot of men behind the ball. They were very compact with not much space out there, with the idea to try to counter attack against you.
“They had some joy and success against us and we will wait and see if the new manager, Angelo, does the same thing with a similar game plan.
“It is difficult to predict because throughout pre-season they have played a different style which was quite open and they tried to play more football on the floor.
“It hasn’t really worked out for them so, if I was to guess, I think they might go back to more of how it looked under Steven Clarke – but that’s me guessing.”
Gerrard is aware how important a good start to the new season could be for his side. He continued: “I think that is always the plan going into any season.
We’ve had a very successful pre-season in terms of keeping people fit and healthy and getting them in good condition. We’ve got players coming up to speed so I’ve got a fully fit squad to pick from.
“We’ve got a doubt with Steven Davis that we had checked today, and tomorrow we’ll have our fingers crossed he’ll pull through. So we are in good shape and we’re in a good place, now we’ve got to go and try and put in a performance that builds on our successful pre-season. Hopefully that will be enough to get a positive result.”
Gerrard also gave a fitness update on his first-team stars, with a couple in action for the Development Squad against Chelsea as the club opens the new stand at the Hummel Training Centre this evening.
He added: “Jon Flanagan will play tonight, so he’ll push from 30 to 60 minutes. Filip Helander will also get 90 minutes tonight and then he should be close to near enough being ready.
“Jamie Murphy has got a niggle in his groin which has set him back a few days and Graham Dorrans has reported a calf issue that we had scanned last night that we are waiting for results on.”