After writing half a match preview I decided to toss it and start again. Why? Well I found myself falling into the negativity trap that the press have been bombarding us with since December the 31st. Unfortunately with Scottish football being put on hold for three weeks the media needed to dig deep to fill their papers and what is easier than to fill it with drivel over the Rangers.
Let us not kid ourselves on; all is not rosy in the garden but we have entered a new year in the history of Rangers Football Club. The most successful club in the world will become 145 years old this year and that is something we can be positive and happy about.
Unfortunately Saturday's Scottish Cup match against Motherwell will start with a negative after the loss of ex-player Johnny Little. As I have only just reached my 60th birthday today as I write, I have no recollection of Johnny's career myself but it is always sad to lose one of our own. All the strength to his family. As a mark of respect, a minute’s silence will be observed prior to tomorrow’s game.
Saturday brings on a new adventure in the Scottish Cup and and the beginning of a new competitive year. Let us forget the Leipzig friendly and think positive as that was a game we were always going to lose. The German side has become a European top team with an owner that has pumped millions into the club - compare and contrast with our more recent owners and a few shareholders who only wanted\want to pump money out of the club.
Like Rangers, the Scottish Cup also has a rich history and dates back until 1873 - one year after our club was formed. While the English FA competition is a few years older, the Scottish Cup trophy is actually the oldest trophy in football dating back to 1874. The original trophy is kept in the Hampden museum and brought out once a year to be presented at the the cup final. After the final the cup is returned to the museum and a replica is presented to the cup winners. The biggest shock in the competition was in 1938 when 2nd Division East Fife won the cup beating first division Kilmarnock in the final.
Hibs became the second, 2nd tier club to win it last season, but the less said about that game the better. Queens Park are the only non-league team to win it by beating Celtic in the 1893 final.
While Celtic top the winners charts with 36 wins against Rangers' 33 wins the surprise team who hold third place with ten wins is Queens Park. All of their wins were between 1874 and 1900 though when they virtually dominated Scottish football. A good question for a pub quiz with probably only the older guys getting it right!
Rangers have two new signings in contention for a place in the team on Saturday. Jon Toral and Emerson Hyndman were signed on loan from the EPL and will be hoping for a starting spot with both playing 45mins against Leipzig. I feel Toral may get a start but Hyndman may have to be content with a place on the bench.
In terms of system, Warburton has started the last three games with a three man back-line with Tavernier moving forward to the right wing-back position and McKay on the left. With Tav apparently suspended, it remains to be seen if Warburton will stick with this formation, especially with the much-missed Lee Wallace set to return from injury. I am not sure if Gilks will get the 'keeper role for Scottish Cup games (as he did for the League Cup) but if he does then he has shown in the past that he is a worthy replacement for Foderingham.
The midfield needs freshening up in my opinion with Holt possibly needing a break after playing every match after coming back from early-season injury. He certainly looks to have been running on empty the last few games and needs to get that spark back that saw him ghost into great scoring positions last season. Halliday probably also needs a rest but playing two brand new virtually untried players in the engine-room would be taking a very big gamble. One which I doubt Warburton will take. He could offset that though by playing Windass on the right hand side with him, Halliday and Toral inter-changing.
We have already beaten Motherwell twice this season and I don't see any reason to think tomorrow should be any different. I actually think we will win comfortably. (That's it positive thinking!)
C'mon the Gers!!!
Possible team (4-3-3):
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