One of the best perks of being part of the Blue Order over the years was bringing out the huge 'Silence of the Sheep' banner every time we beat them at Ibrox. Sure, it was rather crude and small children may have been offended and cried, but Aberdeen's awful record over the years in Glasgow meant it was good sport and a well deserved message. Unfortunately, this season at least, it's us that have been silenced and the bragging rights are currently the prerogative of our chums in the North East.
Aside from an impressive 4-2 reverse in Aberdeen, in the six games we've already played against the Dons this season, that has been our only victory. Yes, we've dominated possession and territory in most of the other matches as well but the men in red have won three times; all in Glasgow and twice at Ibrox. Suffice to say, Sunday's match won't be any cake-walk and, no matter the result, TBO won't be flying any banners of long-lost hubris.
Worse for the Rangers support are today's media reports that both captain James Tavernier and striker Jermain Defoe are struggling to make the game. The latter was pictures training this morning so should feature but the loss of our skipper would be a blow, more so should the injury be a longer term one. We do have options to replace him - Matt Polster may be the preferred one after making a short cameo in the role last weekend - but those Rangers fans that bemoan Tav's captaincy and contribution may find themselves eating their words should we struggle creatively on Sunday afternoon.
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The good news for the support is that we've shown of late we can cope with adversity. The loss of Morelos and Kent to suspension worried all but the most optimistic of bears but the change in personnel and system to address that has worked well with three straight wins. And convincing ones at that. Kent is available again for Sunday but it says a lot for our current form that he may have to settle for a place on the bench. Morelos isn't back until next Sunday but, should Defoe remain fit and still scoring goals, then the Colombian too could rue his recent indiscipline.
Injury and suspension aside, the rest of the Rangers team should pick itself. The defence have looked solid enough with Niko Katic proving himself very useful when we're facing physical strikers. After dealing well with Curtis Main and Uche Ikpeazu in the last two games, the Croatian centre half will relish another aerial battle with the impressive Sam Cosgrove. Meanwhile, in midfield, the likes of Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara and Steven Davis have all stepped up recently so should retain their place this week too. Indeed, the battling qualities of the Aberdeen midfield will mean they'll have to be on the top of their game once more.
Our prize for three points is a clear one: at least second place in this year's Ladbrokes Premiership with Aberdeen left to battle it out with Killie and Hibs for third, fourth and fifth. A draw wouldn't be the end of the world either leaving us eight points in front of Aberdeen with just three games left. A loss brings Aberdeen right back into the reckoning and would guarantee is nothing ahead of our remaining matches. Given recent bickering between the managers in the media, it seems any bragging isn't just between the fans now either so both Gerrard and McInnes have put themselves under pressure. Yes, Aberdeen may well offer more against us than other teams but that's no excuse when it comes to our poor results and performances against them. That has to change and there's no time like the present.
Possible team (4-3-2-1):
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