Ross County vs RangersScottish Premiership, KO: 19:45 Oct 30, 2019, Global Energy Stadium
RANGERS congested calendar will see no respite this midweek when Steven Gerrard and his side make a taxing trip north to go toe-to-toe with Ross County.
The Ibrox side impressed in Porto last Thursday evening, however, the Gers appeared to be suffering from a Europa League hangover on Sunday when they survived a scare when coming from behind to beat Motherwell 2-1 in Govan.
A late Filip Helander header saw Rangers go back on level points with Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic, however, the Light Blues were also lethargic in their last domestic road trip when they surrendered their place at the summit when being held to a 1-1 draw by a struggling Hearts side.
With red-hot rivals Celtic hosting travel sick St Mirren on Wednesday night, Gerrard's Gers can ill-afford to fling away more points in the Highlands.
Following a one year absence from the Scottish top-flight Ross County have swiftly adapted to life back in the big time by picking up 13 points from the opening 30 on offer to them and only Livingston have managed to depart Dingwall victorious thus far.
The Staggies only other setbacks have come at Pittodrie and Celtic Park and despite recently being hit for six by the Hoops, County co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell watched their side respond admirably to that Parkhead pasting by mounting a commendable comeback in the capital last weekend when salvaging a 2-2 draw against Hibs.
However, Rangers will represent Ross County's toughest test to date on home turf and that is reflected in the odds for this clash with County a towering 12/1 (Bet 365) to triumph and the draw is also deemed improbable at 11/2 (Bet 365) with the same firm.
Gerrard will expect his team to take maximum points from this tussle – as do the bookmakers who have priced Rangers as short as 1/4 (UniBet) to get back to winning ways on the road.
Rangers have won three of their four league games away from Ibrox this term, however, in three of those games it was all square at the break.
Yet, backing Rangers in the half time/ full time market here appeals at 4/5 (Coral), however, I'm more attracted to the 13/10 (PaddyPower) on offer for Rangers to score in both halves and to take over 1.5 corners in each half.
Given their superior quality the Ibrox side should enjoy the lion's share of possession whilst attempting to find a way through Ross County's rearguard and that could see Rangers rack up a few corners either side of the interval.
Furthermore, the visitors are more than capable of making the net bulge at both ends of Victoria Park when you consider the wealth of attacking talent that Gerrard has at his disposal – Rangers are averaging just under three goals per-game in the Scottish Premiership.
What's more, Gerrard has the luxury of rotating two free-scoring strikers in the shape of Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe – who between them have banged in 29 goals in all competitions thus far.
Defoe was on target on Sunday when he ruthlessly drew Rangers level against Motherwell, however, Gers boss Gerrad may turn to top-goalscorer Alfredo Morelos for this clash as the Colombian may be better equipped to deal with the physical battle that the home side will present.
Morelos has hit the back of the net in four of Rangers last five away games in all competitions – the most recent of which was an outstanding strike in the O Dragao Stadium – and the 3/4 (BoyleSports) on offer for the Rangers talisman to add to his goal tally of 16 against newly-promoted Ross County looks a little too generous to pass up on.
However, the hosts will have their moments in this match – the Staggies have scored in all four of their home games this season and they are an eye-catching 17/20 (William Hill) to breach a Bears backline that has only bagged one clean-sheet in their last five attempts.
However, even if County were to get on the scoresheet, I suspect a home goal would ultimately prove to be no more than a consolation, as Rangers will be determined to avoid another stumble on their travels.
Backing Rangers to win won't get you rich, however, an alternative angle to consider in trying to source some value from an away win could be to combine a Rangers win, over 1.5 match goals and over 1.5 Ross County cards at Evens (Bet 365)
This Scottish Premiership match between Ross County and Rangers will be played on Oct 30, 2019 and kick off at 19:45