Rangers vs St Joseph'sUEFA Europa League, KO: 19:45 Jul 18, 2019, Ibrox
RANGERS resume their bid to reach the Europa League group stages when they welcome St Joseph's to Ibrox on Thursday night.
Steven Gerrard's side made light work of the minnows from Gibraltar last midweek with a 4-0 first leg victory and the bookmakers are anticipating another long night for the visitors in Glasgow with a home win as short as 1/66 (William Hill)
Even at this early stage of the season anything other than a home win here would represent one of the shocks of the season and if you fancy St Joseph's to do the unthinkable then they are 20/1 (UniBet) to draw on the night and a soaring 66/1 (Betway) for the win that would stun the Ibrox faithful.
Such odds are understandable for Raul Procopio's underdogs given their semi-professional status, however they did hold their own against Rangers up until the 50th minute of the first leg.
After making the breakthrough the Bears flexed their muscles as their superior quality and fitness seen them go on to record a comfortable away win.
As such Gerrard now has the luxury of rotating his squad for Thursday nights return leg when European football returns to Ibrox.
It may be a wise move to await confirmation of the official Rangers starting 11 before placing bets, but either way, finding value from this fixture will prove to be problematic for punters.
Procopio's side will once again set up to frustrate and restrict Rangers with the aim of avoiding another humiliating European defeat – they lost 10-0 on aggregate to Cypriot side AEL two seasons ago.
St Joseph's were resistant for 50 minutes last week but I can't see them shutting out Rangers for so long this time around – especially after the Gers 4-0 mauling of Marseille on Sunday.
I tipped Rangers To Win To Nil in Gibraltar last week and they duly delivered, but the value on offer for a repeat on home soil is understandably less generous.
However, an alternative angle that incorporates that outcome has caught my eye and that is the 11/10 (William Hill) on offer for Rangers To Win To Nil, St Joseph's First Card and Rangers -3 Corners Handicap.
A Rangers clean sheet here is expected with the visitors as high as 95/50 (Marathonbet) to score and after picking up three cards at home further bookings should follow for St Joseph's and Rangers should rack up plenty of corners – so all three combined is worth a punt.
On the subject of set pieces Steven Gerrard's s men were denied a penalty kick early on in last weeks meeting but the referee pointing to the spot at Ibrox is more probable
The away side could struggle to cope with the bigger, slicker and non-artificial Ibrox surface – so much so that it could expose the part-timers – so a penalty to be awarded at 7/4 (William Hill) is enticing.
Rangers skipper James Tavernier would be first in line to hit a spot kick and he is 5/4 (Betway) to score anytime.
However, goals have been flowing in Govan lately and they have been coming from all over the park so there are various contenders to consider in the goalscorer markets.
One option that appeals to me is Sheyi Ojo after his eye-catching performance last week in which he scored the second goal of the game with a neat finish.
The on loan Liverpool winger also netted against Oxford at Ibrox recently and he is a tempting 23/20 (Betway) to score anytime against St Joseph's in what should ultimately prove to be a straightforward assignment for the Scottish giants.
This UEFA Europa League match between Rangers and St Joseph's will be played on Jul 18, 2019 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Rangers vs St Joseph's prediction.