Rangers travel to Eindhoven in the Last 16 of the Europa League, to take on Eredivisie giants PSV Eindhoven. Rangers Number One Allan McGregor drops to the bench with Neil Alexander taking his place.
El Hadji Diouf plays in the lone striker role, with Kyle Hutton, Steven Davis, Maurice Edu and Kyle Lafferty in midfield. Richard Foster plays right back, while Steven Whittaker switches to the left back position, David Weir, Madjid Bougherra and Kyle Bartley play in Central Defence, as Walter Smith continues to play his favoured 5-4-1 formation.
PSV team: Isaksson, Marcelo, Pieters, Bouma, Engelaar, Hutchinson, Dzsudzsak, Manolev, Berg, Toivonen, Lens.
Subs: Cassio, Rodriguez, Vukovic, Wuytens, Koevermans, Bakkal, Zeefuik.
Rangers team: [5-4-1] Alexander; Weir, Foster, Whittaker, Bougherra, Bartley; Edu, Davis, Lafferty, Hutton; Diouf.
Subs: McGregor, Wylde, Cole, Weiss, Hemmings, Fleck, Healy.
Walter Smith talking ahead of the game said, “I feel that this will be a tougher game [than Sporting game]because the circumstances surrounding the clubs are different. PSV are certainly steadier and they are on a good run of form at the moment. Sporting Lisbon had one or two problems to overcome off the field so we would expect a far more difficult match this time around than in the previous round.”
“This season, along with FC Twente, PSV have been the steadiest of the Dutch teams, looking from the outside. They look as though they are more than capable of winning the championship. They have a decent physical presence in their team, they play a good level of football. They like to get the ball forward in a fairly aggressive manner and overall this season they have an opportunity in front of them to be very successful.”
Meanwhile PSV manager Fred Rutten said that his side will face a tough test to break down Rangers’ defensive system.
“They play this way because they had a phase this season where they received many goals against,” said Rutten. “They had trouble to win. They then started to play with five defenders and that has brought results. That’s why they stick to that style of play. There is nothing wrong with that. We will have to find a solution, which will be difficult enough”
Rangers have Maurice Edu and Madjid Bougherra walking a tightrope tonight as the duo are one yellow card away from missing the second leg at Ibrox next week.
Meanwhile PSV have five players Balazs Dzudzsak, Marcelo, Erik Peters, Wilfred Bouma and Marcus Berg, who could miss next week’s tie if they pick up a booking tonight.
Swede Martin Hansson will referee tonight’s Europa League last 16 clash. He is infamous for his involvement in Thierry Henry’s ‘hand of gaul’ incident, which ultimately cost the Republic of Ireland a place in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Fredrik Nilsson and Magnus Sjoblom are the linesmen, with Andreas Ekberg the fourth official. Stefan Johannesson and Jim Petersson are the additional assistant referees.