Kilmarnock vs RangersScottish Premiership, KO: 19:45 Feb 12, 2020, Rugby Park
RANGERS have been wobbling in their pursuit of the Premiership crown and another slip-up on Kilmarnock's plastic pitch could prove fatal.
Five dropped points since the winter break have handed the initiative back to Celtic and Steven Gerrard's men now head to what hasn't been a happy hunting ground.
Rangers lost 2-1 on their both their Premiership visits to Rugby Park last term but hinted that lessons may have been learned as they won by the same score on their first jaunt to Ayrshire this term.
Wins over Hibs and Hamilton in their last two games suggest the Ibrox side may be over their mini slump but the true test of that revival will come at Kilmarnock.
Killie went nine league games without a win as Alex Dyer replaced Angelo Alessio at the helm yet are showing signs of their own renaissance.
They are unbeaten in their last three games, beating Ross County and Hearts in the league before claiming a creditable draw at Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup.
And it looks like Dyer, assistant to Steve Clarke during his hugely successful spell as Rugby Park boss, is getting the squad back into their old habits.
How the bookies view it
I'm surprised to see Kilmarnock as big as 10/1 with Betfair, given they won both their home league games against Gers last season.
The draw is 9/2 with Betfred while the best price on a Rangers win is 33/100 at Marathonbet. To boost the odds on a victory for Gerrard's side, double it with both teams to score at 49/20 with the same firm.
Both teams to score has come up in five of the last six meetings between these sides at Rugby Park and offers value on its own at 31/25 with Marathonbet.
Recent head to head
These sides faced off an incredible seven times last term. Both claimed two wins each, with the other three games ending in a stalemate.
Rangers knocked Killie out of both cups but the Rugby Park side had the edge in the league, winning twice at home and drawing both games at Ibrox.
Gerrard's men have come out on top so far this season, winning both their encounters, including a 2-1 triumph at Rugby Park sealed by a late Connor Goldson goal (below).
Players to watch
Alfredo Morelos ended a four-game drought at the weekend and that could spark the Colombian, who has been the subject of back and front page headlines recently, back to life.
Morelos (below) is a boosted evens with Skybet for anytime scorer and 20/21 with Bet365. That's decent value, given he netted 10 times against Kilmarnock last season and scored the winner in their Ibrox meeting earlier this term.
Last season's haul against Killie included a hat-trick and a four-goal masterclass so some punters might fancy backing him to score two or more here at 9/2 with William Hill. A hat-trick pays 25-1 at Skybet.
Kilmarnock's revival has mirrored that of striker Eamonn Brophy, who has three goals in his last three games after drawing a blank in his previous eight outings.
Brophy scored twice against Rangers last season so could be worth a punt at 23/5 with Unibet for anytime scorer.
Anything else catch the eye?
I backed Rangers to get back among the goals at Hamilton, with my tips of over 2.5 strikes and a goal in each half for Gerrard's men coming up. But I can see this game being much tighter and under 2.5 match goals appeals at 11/10 with 888Sport.
The last three matches between these sides have ended with a one-goal winning margin and I could easily see a repeat at 15/8 with Betway.
Killie will be without keeper Laurentiu Branescu after he was sent off in their last league game. I can see a few cards here and like the look of the 13/8 on offer at Bet365 for Alan Power to be carded.
The Irishman was lucky to pick up just a yellow for a fierce tackle on Celtic's Jeremie Frimpong last month and never shies from a challenge.
This Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Rangers will be played on Feb 12, 2020 and kick off at 19:45