Match Preview: Rangers vs Ross County - Can I Look Yet?

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We welcome Ross County this weekend but first it’s only appropriate I touch on the capitulation at Tynecastle. Last night’s game versus Hearts was, for many, the last straw. Groundhog Day for the umpteenth time. I know some will say it’s the manner of the defeat and not the score but for me it’s both. Personally I missed the match due to being held hostage by the library. However by the looks of it, it seems many of the usual suspects are appearing to ineptly perform under some sort of duress?

I can’t elaborate too much on something that I didn’t witness first hand however from the comments of those who did, it seems we are going over the same old ground that we have for a lot of the season: Lack of effort, commitment and desire from what must be the majority of the side. In addition being bullied and harassed into withering, submissive execution is something that is completely unacceptable. However rather than treating the symptom we need to find the source. What is the reason this side, who without doubt have the ability, have decided to throw in the towel periodically at first, and now whenever they feel intimidated by a side who forces the game and looks to attack them? Personally and from reading other comments on the forum I feel we have deeper problems, with some again calling for the manager to step aside. What these problems are is open to speculation, however something clearly is not right.

We will hope to bounce back this Saturday when we welcome the Dingwall side to Ibrox for the 3pm kick-off, a welcome return from the inconvenient lunchtime slot. I noticed that County are bringing around four buses with them -- at least they won’t have to leave in the middle of the night! I suspect they may be looking forward to 'their big day oot in the city'. Let’s hope this Rangers side decide not to offer too warm a welcome and at least turn up looking to give 100% for the jersey. The last meeting at the Global Energy Stadium ended with a 1-1 draw, a first half header from Clint Hill being cancelled out before half time. If memory serves me it was another defensive error leaving the opposition unmarked in the area to rifle in a header. The second half was pretty forgetful and I remember thinking we looked to have settled for a point. Arguably the signs of future capitulation down to lack of commitment and desire were beginning to become evident, as far back as November. However, a point away up in the Highlands is not the end of the world and we left relatively content with a point. The last match at Ibrox ended 0-0 in front of over 47,000 fans; we will have a full house again this Saturday, as on a quick inspection of the seating plan, there are only around 50-100 single seats left. Anyone reading this deliberating over attending this Saturday best be quick to purchase their tickets.

The Transfer window has come and gone with very little movement. Only Matt Gilks on the way out and Jan Alnwick from Port Vale being added as cover for Wes Foderingham. As frustrating as it is I don’t think anyone really expected much movement other than loan signings and the two we have acquired, especially Emerson Hyndman, look to be great additions to the set up. Some of the reporting in the media, as usual, has been a narrative to say the least regarding our dealings. However it was pointed out by a few that some of the reporting over the likes of McKay could work in our favour by highlighting the valuation of the player. I tend to agree they will print whatever they like regarding our business. We are aware that for one reason or another, the majority of their footballing loyalties lie in the East End. We will have to hope we can progress with what we have to the end of the season, starting with this weekend match.

After taking on board the comments from last night we should expect at least a few changes for Saturday. Halliday needs dropped; not rested, dropped, as has been the case for weeks. Tavernier is great going forward but we all know defensively he has most of us reaching for the Vodka or Valium -- some weeks it’s both! Therefore I would like to see the return of Hodson, who in my opinion should start every week. At centre-half we have a bit of a problem. I know Kiernan needs dropped too, however it seems that MW sees something most of us don’t. It may be the case he agrees but thinks Wilson and Senderos are more of a liability, and he might be right. Which brings us back to Kiernan. At Ibrox and versus County I would hope alongside Hill he will be as competent as he can be. I’m not sure any of our other options would be any better.

Up front I don’t know why Waghorn started against Hearts. He is nowhere near the player he was last season and looks disinterested. He also looks at least 3 kilos overweight, which begs the question, why? If he is not starting why is he not going the extra mile in training to be noticed? Which brings us back to my initial point over commitment and a deeper problem in the ranks. Taking that on board I would like to see us start with Wes in goal with a back four of Wallace, Hill, Kiernan and Hodson. A midfield of Toral, Holt and Hyndman with an attack of McKay, Miller and Forrester. In all honesty after last night we could put names in a hat.

We will have another fantastic home support and a full house on Saturday, and the side are very capable of producing a performance and victory we all know they are capable. Many of us watch our games at the moment with head in hands or over our eyes. Some of our performances deserve to be classified 18 cert! Through all our troubles over the last 4-5 years our support and commitment to our club has never faltered nor wavered. When circumstances and outside agencies sought to destroy us every supporter stood strong in support and desire to see our great club restored to its rightful place at the top of Scottish football. Let’s get behind the team on Saturday and create another fantastic atmosphere, which we can only hope will transfer onto those on the pitch in a positive manner. I’m going to predict a powerful response from the players and a 3-0 home victory. Let’s hope it is indeed safe to watch?

C’mon eh Bears!

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