OK, trying to bring Tolkien into a Rangers match preview is maybe a bit daft but tomorrow the Light Blues travel to Ochilview Park (actually home of Stenhousemuir FC) to take on 'The Shire' in the Third Division which is a bit of an unexpected journey so the effective title holds!
Sure, we may not be going looking for treasure in the company of hobbits and dwarves but when we consider the difficulty in getting to places like Falkirk and the over-policing of the localities when we get there then it's not just Bilbo Baggins that can embark on dangerous quests!
Anyway enough fun and onto the serious business of Rangers attempting to get only their second away win of their SFL season so far. This won't be made any easier with a raft of injuries to otherwise first choice players.
Starting in defence and although Neil Alexander should remain in goal, injuries to Emilson, Perry and Faure will keep them out for the foreseeable future so Ally McCoist will again turn to Lee McCulloch to fill the gap in central defence. Chris Hegarty who has done so well so far this term is likely to partner him - especially with next choice centre half Luca Gasparotto just back from an injury of his own. The Canada under-18 international captain will be pushing hard to feature before Christmas though! On the flanks, Argyriou and Wallace should hopefully cover the unfamiliar central pairing whilst providing supporting width in attack.
Moving into midfield and with two up front deployed in attack at home to Peterhead last week, it will be interesting to see if the manager opts for a four man midfield away tomorrow. This would mean a second start for Robbie Crawford (sponsored by the lads at Vanguard Bears) on the right with Barrie McKay again on the left. Ian Black and Lewis MacLeod would provide the graft in the middle. However, it wouldn't surprise me to see MacLeod moved out to the flank and Kyle Hutton recalled to the starting XI to shore up midfield.
Now, usually most of us would be annoyed with such a negative tactical move but if this enables us to continue with two forwards then it may be worth looking at. Unfortunately, Andy Little seems to be injured again so we're also short of genuine strikers with Sandaza and Kyle still unavailable. This may mean a start for Kal Naismith alongside Dean Shiels (who played for Northern Ireland in midweek). Naismith actually looked quite bright when he came on as a sub last weekend so he arguably deserves his chance from the start.
All in all though, I'd fancy McCoist will want to try and keep changes to a minimum other than replacing those who are injured. Making other changes may disrupt the winning momentum of the team and although we're hardly setting the heather alight, there have been some tentative signs of more confident football.
Let's hope for more of the same tomorrow lunchtime - for those of you interested RangersTV are showing the game live online at a cost of £5.99. You can check this out for yourself on the official club website.
Possible team (4-4-2):