PREVIEW: RANGERS - ST. JOHNSTONE
Thursday, December 10, 2009
DaMarcus Beasley and Rangers will quickly look to put their Champions League disappointment behind them when they host St. Johnstone on Saturday afternoon at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
Beasley, who started and played the first half of Wednesday's Champions League defeat versus Sevilla, will look to see some significant minutes off the bench for the second week in a row.
Fellow American Maurice Edu will not take part in Saturday's affair but has stated that the January 3rd match versus Celtic may be his return date.
Last week Beasley pwas a second half substitute in their 1-3 win at Falkirk where he drew a penalty kick which led to the third Rangers goal.
With the winter transfer window approaching, Rangers head coach Walter Smith may aim to give Beasley more minutes in order to better showcase the winger to potential suitors around Europe. Beasley has already indicated his desire to leave the Glasgow club in order to find more playing time.
The race at the top of the Scottish Premier League table features a new twist this season as regulars Celtic and Rangers have been joined this season by Hibernian and Dundee United. The Hibs are tied with Rangers at 28 points while Dundee United are at 26. All three clubs are hoping to run down Celtic who sit first with 30 points however Smith's squad still have a game in hand.
St. Johnstone enter the match with a respectable 13 points and are currently in eighth place in the first season back in the SPL following a seven year absence.
The Saints will have their hands full in trying to defend the red-hot Kris Boyd who has ten goals on the campaign including two goals scored last week against the Bairns.
The visitors from Perth will also be missing several key components on offense with Steven Milne questionable for the match and Andy Jackson and Martin Hardie out with long-term injuries.
Boyd has been battling a thigh injury but is likely to play on Saturday for the hosts while Pedro Mendes and Steven Naismith are out with thigh and hamstring injuries respectively in addition to the long term injuries of Edu and Kirk Broadfoot.