The heat is on for the Rangers strikers as Roy Makaay delivers a teaching masterclass to those left behind

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Rangers forward Fashion Sakala (left) brawls with Aberden’s Dean Campbell during the teams’ 1-1 draw at Pittodrie last week. (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group)

The Scottish champions will be without their leading goalscorer and talismanic leader Alfredo Morelos for their next three Premiership games against Livingston at Ibrox on Wednesday night, Ross County at Dingwall on Saturday and the Old Firm clash at Celtic Park in midweek. .

While Morelos is in World Cup qualifying with Colombia, the onus will fall on Sakala and fellow strikers Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten to help Rangers maintain or extend their four-point lead over Celtic at the top of the board.

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The Zambian international is confident that the collegiate approach they share can ensure they are up to the challenge.

Moda Sakala celebrates his goal in Rangers’ 3-1 win over Livingston in the teams’ last meeting in November. (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group)

“We are always there to cheer each other on in practice and games,” Sakala said. “Whether you are on the bench or starting, the good thing is that we are always there to motivate and encourage each other.

“That’s what I like about us as a group of strikers. We don’t really do things as a competition, but we all try to work together and help the team.

“It is very important for us to deliver against Livingston tomorrow. It’s always sad when some players aren’t part of the squad.

“We will miss him (Morelos) for sure, he is a special player for us. But we have to deliver. It’s our time and we have to help the team and get the result.

“I think we are all ready and prepared for the game. We are all ready to give the boss what he wants and get the result the fans want tomorrow. We are all ready for the fight.”

Sakala has scored six goals for Rangers since joining them from Oostende last summer, including one in a 3-1 win over Livingston the last time the teams met in November.

The 24-year-old feels his game has continued to improve since Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s appointment as manager that month. Sakala has particularly enjoyed the personal insight he has received from first-team coach Roy Makaay, a former Bayern Munich center forward and Dutch international, who has special responsibilities working with the strikers.

“It’s always good to work with people like Roy Makaay,” Sakala said. “With his experience, I have been learning a lot.

“He is always there for me, giving me individual sessions after training: shooting, dribbling, things like that. I am having a great time with him and I am very happy to have him in my career.

“It is a great honor to work with those kinds of people and I think I will learn a lot from him.”

Rangers fans will see a new picture of the ever-smiling Sakala on Wednesday after he paid a long-awaited visit to his barber after scoring in a 4-0 Scottish Cup win over Stirling Albion last Friday. He celebrated by pointing to his head and has revealed why.

“I promised the fans that I would only cut my hair when I scored in 2022, so it was a special goal,” he said.

“It was a good motivation to start the new year! I cut it off and I look fresh, I think you can see!”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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