The Most Important Rangers Match for Two Years

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There is zero exaggeration in
saying today’s Ramsdens Cup final against Raith Rovers is the most important
Rangers match since the Ibrox defeat of Celtic which stopped the Eastenders
winning the league at Rangers’ home.
The Easter Road final is the
first cup silverware Rangers have contested since those dark days of
administration, and could be called “Stage 2.5” quite validly. There
is no denying these past 24 months have not been the easiest for all those
connected with the club, and while the capture of League 1 was welcome, it was
also expected.
Where it comes to cup silverware,
however, one bad display can cost a side the entire tournament. This nearly
came to pass against a very resilient Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup Quarter
final. The replay’s dogged victory secured that semifinal (scheduled in a week),
and it is absolutely critical today Rangers fans get to enjoy a trophy
ceremony of a cup tournament, rather than the (sadly) mundane nature of more
League 1 business.
Dundee United, therefore, are
still to come, but that is another battle, and the most important one, right
here, right now, is facing today’s Ramsdens Final opponents. Raith have not
had a great season in the Championship, truth be told, and are weaker opponents
than the best side Rangers have played this semester; Falkirk.
The Bairns are third in that league while Rovers languish fourth bottom.
Consequently with Rangers winning
League 1 at a canter they have to be heavy favourites. But then, three aspects
confront these odds:
Firstly we have seen in a one-off
match how an utterly dire side (no disrespect to Albion Rovers) can still up
their game and cause Rangers problems. They were astoundingly close to making
the Scottish Cup semifinal, but for a slightly fortuitous Mohsni goal to steal
an undeserved replay for the Ibrox men. The replay was marginally more
comfortable, with an Aird goal and a Daly header finishing off our valiant
foes.
The second issue is the current,
and rather drastic downturn in Rangers’ form. Truthfully there is barely a
player at Ibrox, outwith arguably Callum Gallagher, who has shown any
convincing form in recent months. Templeton and Shiels’ burst in January and
part of February is a distant memory, and not even the normally remarkable Lee
Wallace has mustered much quality.
The rest are all struggling
horribly, and it feels now like this squad is running on empty and cannot wait
for the season to be over.
The third issue is injuries. Five
big injury doubts persist today: Nicky Law, Ian Black, David Templeton,
Andy Little and Jon Daly are all injury concerns and it is debatable if any
will be able to start. Furthermore, backup utility man Arnold Peralta is
suspended and unavailable.
Add all these facts up together
and the final is anything but a foregone conclusion. Indeed, it is quite
feasible, if these absences are absolute, that midfield could well be Crawford
and Hutton, with Aird and Gallagher on the wings and Clark
and Shiels up front. Admittedly not a dire set of players, relative to the
opposition, but far from Rangers’ first choice selections.
Either way, whoever starts for
the Ibrox men absolutely must bring home that silverware. Confidence is
desperately needed given current form, and the titanic clash coming up with Utd
in the Scottish Cup.
Stage 2.5 needs it.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Not one player in that team is worthy of the jersey and the manager and coaching staff have proven themselves inept time and again !

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