FOLLOWING Tuesday night’s substandard showing in Belgium, it’s fair to suggest any one of the Rangers starting XI would have no complaints if they were dropped ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Kilmarnock.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is likely to ring the changes for the first home match of the season but it was probably likely anyway given the return leg with Union Saint-Gilloise comes around on Tuesday.

It was apparent in the searing heat of Leuven that the midfield trio of Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara and John Lundstram didn’t work.

There was very little in the way of penetration with last season’s Belgian runners-up stifling the Rangers engine room and preventing Jack and Kamara in particular the chance to dictate play, set the tempo and create opportunities.

The one man who is capable of doing all those mentioned was an unused substitute but with a two-goal deficit facing Rangers, now is the time to call upon Steven Davis.

The 37-year-old has the ability to unlock defences and break through the lines with a single pass. If we compare stats from last season’s Premiership campaign, it gives a clear indication that Davis’ attacking intent far outweighs any of his teammates.

Using the StatsBomb data, if we take a look at his xG assisted score, this is the value of chances he was able to create in front of goal, he posted a score of 0.13.

In comparison, Glen Kamara posted 0.07, Ryan Jack 0.04 and John Lundstram 0.06.

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The Northern Irishman vastly outperforms Tuesday night’s midfield three by quite some distance. Now, based on the fact the onus is on Rangers to break down what will be a stubborn resistance both on Saturday and Tuesday then Davis could be the key component to find a way through what is likely to be packed defences.

It’s important to remember Union had the meanest defensive record in Belgium last season, conceding 32 goals over the course of the league campaign. They were well drilled and organised on Tuesday but Rangers failed to truly test their backline.

Shots from distance from Malik Tillman, James Sands and a Borna Barisic free kick were all that the Light Blues were able to muster and all occurred in the first half. For a team like Rangers, that’s simply not good enough.

Tuesday night’s starting line-up and indeed the XI who emerge from the tunnel to face Derek McInnes' newly-promoted side will likely be altogether different than the personnel who were trusted to get a result in Belgium.

To get positive results in both matches, it’s vitally important Steven Davis is included. It’s a view shared by his former Ibrox teammate Barry Ferguson. Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show he said: “I still think he’s got it in him.

“I don’t care what age he is, he’s got it in him and he’s an ultimate professional. For me, he could easily still play in the Rangers XI.”

He may be 37 years old, but his one-year contract extension shows the coaching staff believe he can still offer something to the team and that should start at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon.

This piece is an extract from today’s Rangers Insider newsletter, which is emailed out at 5pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Rangers Review team.

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