IT is a case of win or bust for Rangers if they want to retain the Scottish Premiership title that they battled to earn for the first time in a decade last term.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are six points behind Celtic as they head to Parkhead today and they simply must win to keep their Premiership crown hopes alive.

If Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic take the three points then the title race will be over and the Aussie will have struck gold in his first season in charge.

The league is the bread and butter in Scotland and Ibrox supporters would be far from satisfied if their team was to lose out on the championship to their bitter rivals, despite reaching the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Rangers’ European exploits could have a major say in team selections for today’s lunchtime kick-off and here at Herald and Times Sport we have examined the major Ibrox talking points ahead of the Old Firm showdown.

Striking contrast

Rangers’ manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst once again has a major selection headache in terms of who to play in his lead striking role. The Ibrox outfit will once again be without their two main strikers in the shape of Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe due to injury.

Wide duo Ryan Kent and Scott Wright were given more direct attacking roles in the Europa League semi-final against RB Leipzig, with Joe Aribo employed further forward in a central position after the break.

Van Bronckhorst also has the option of playing Fashion Sakala through the middle while centre-forward Cedric Itten got his first few minutes of league action since January when he came on at Motherwell last weekend.

It remains to be seen who Van Bronckhorst will opt for, but a change of shape would seem unlikely. Roofe caused problems against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden earlier this month and Rangers will need someone to do a similar job today if they are to have any success against the league leaders.

Kent would probably be the ideal option on paper for pressure and pace, but can Rangers afford to miss those attributes on the flank? Probably not is the answer. There is also a huge chance that the former Liverpool winger will be rested ahead of the Europa League return leg as he looked like Rangers’ only out ball in Germany.

Defensive consistency

Rangers also have very few choices to pick from at the back in defence. Van Bronckhorst opted for a back five against Leipzig in Germany with Connor Goldson, John Lundstram and Calvin Bassey making up the central three and captain James Tavernier and Borna Barisic were utilised on the flanks.

The five worked well and ultimately kept Leipzig out until the 85th minute when Angelino popped up with a crucial goal to separate the sides. The same defensive line will be in for a tough test again at Parkhead with Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou having already hinted that he could unleash striking duo Kyogo Furuhashi and Giorgos Giakoumakis as a partnership.

Leon Balogun would have been an obvious choice to come into the team but after his red card against Motherwell, he will not be involved. Consistency could prove key in the backline though and another positive performance against Celtic could breed confidence ahead of a huge European night at Ibrox on Thursday.

Midfield options

Midfield is probably the main area of the park where Van Bronckhorst will look to implement changes. The Rangers boss has a string of talent on the bench who were waiting to make their mark in Germany last week.

Steven Davis, Scott Arfield and Sakala will all likely come into the starting XI to add some energy and legs to the middle of the park. The latter could be utilised as a lead striker, but he could also feature as a wide option in midfield.

James Sands is another one who could come in after Van Bronckhorst brought him to the football club in January. The American featured when he first arrived in Glasgow, but he has fallen out of favour in recent weeks.

Alex Lowry and Amad Diallo are another two who are desperate for game time and have shown that they can more than mix it in the Scottish game. If Manchester United loanee Diallo is thrown into action he will be hoping for a better outcome than when he was thrown into the Old Firm derby on February 2. The 19-year-old was hooked at half-time with his team trailing by three goals to nothing. A lot has been made of Lowry’s contract situation and game time could prove vital in keeping him at Ibrox in the long run with clubs south of the border ready to pounce for his signature.