Kilmarnock vs Rangers predictions: Improving Gers can keep Killie at bay
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Dan Sait
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Michael Beale is yet to taste defeat as Rangers manager
Michael Beale is yet to taste defeat as Rangers manager

- Kilmarnock face an Old Firm team for third match in a row after two defeats to Celtic 
- Rangers have kept four consecutive clean sheets against Killie 
- Recommended bet: Rangers to win to nil

Kilmarnock and Rangers experienced very different emotions in last weekend’s League Cup semi-finals, with Killie losing 2-0 to Celtic and Rangers eventually seeing off Aberdeen during extra-time.

But before Michael Beale’s Gers return to Hamden for an Old Firm clash in the League Cup final, focus will be firmly fixed on keeping some sort of pressure on their Glasgow rivals in the Premiership.

Rangers’ hearts were broken when Celtic maintained their nine-point lead at the top of the table thanks to an 88th-minute equaliser at Ibrox in this month's Old Firm derby, but Beale has made an excellent start as Gers manager and will be keen to stay close to Celtic, just in case the Bhoys eventually slip up.

Kilmarnock’s fate is in their own hands but their position is perilous.

Derek McInnes’ men earned plaudits for their battling performances in back-to-back 2-0 defeats to Celtic in the Premiership and the League Cup, but Killie are in urgent need of points rather than praise if they are to start pulling away from the relegation places.

Team news

Kilmarnock striker Kyle Lafferty returned from a 10-match suspension to play 45 minutes against Celtic last weekend but fellow forward Innes Cameron remains out with a hamstring injury and defender Jeriel Dorsett is also unavailable.

Rangers striker Kemar Roofe was forced off against Aberdeen on Sunday with an arm injury and he will be joined on the sidelines by fellow forward Tom Lawrence, who has suffered another setback in his recovery. Another Gers attacker who will miss out is Ianis Hagi, who remains a few weeks away from returning from an ACL injury that has ruled him out for a year.

Injury-plagued central defenders John Souttar and Filip Helander remain unavailable and left-back Ridvan Yilmaz could be out until March with a hamstring problem.

Midfielder Steven Davis was recently ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury but Antonio Colak could return on Wednesday night.

Rangers will have to make do without the injured Kemar Roofe for their trip to Rugby Park
Rangers will have to make do without the injured Kemar Roofe for their trip to Rugby Park

The stats

Beale has yet to lose any of his seven matches as Rangers manager and has won six of those — if you include last weekend’s extra-time success against Aberdeen. The only occasion in which he has dropped points was a 2-2 draw against leaders Celtic, and Rangers had five shots on target to their rivals’ two in that game as well as hitting the woodwork.

Catching Celtic may prove impossible but Rangers have every reason to expect all three points at Rugby Park. Hosts Kilmarnock have scored just 17 goals in 21 league games this season, with only bottom side Ross County scoring fewer in the Premiership.

And Killie have struggled against the Old Firm pair in recent times. McInnes’ men have failed to score in losing each of their last five matches against Celtic and have also blanked in their last four meetings with Rangers, losing each match either 1-0 or 2-0.

Prediction

McInnes’ relegation-threatened Kilmarnock side have shown good spirit in recent weeks, losing only to runaway league leaders Celtic in their last five outings and taking four points off top-six duo Aberdeen and St Mirren.

However, while that suggests that Killie can keep things respectable, they face a Light Blues team that is starting to look back to their best under Beale.

Rangers have kept three clean sheets in their last four league outings so adding under one Kilmarnock goal to Bet Builder selections looks a safe enough option at a shade of odds-on.

However, the best bet is to back Rangers to win to zero, which is available at evens with LiveScore Bet. The Gers have started to look increasingly solid in recent weeks and should have more than enough quality to get the goal or two they need at the other end.

Tags

Scottish PremiershipKilmarnockRangers
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