Queen's Park v Rangers - To play for the sake of playing

Match Analysis
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The presents are all opened; the recycling bins are full with paper; the left-over turkey is drying out and we're all running short of beer. What better way to get back into the holiday spirit with an away New Year Derby match? Thankfully we're not visiting the hooligans over at Celtic Park but nipping round to the National Stadium for Glasgow's original Derby game. With around 30,000 tickets already sold for the game and our hosts organising various celebratory events, it's sure to be a great day out at Hampden. "Ludere Causa Ludendi" indeed!

Of course, Rangers fans will be going along to the match in fine fettle with our team playing some excellent football of late. Talented wingers, a variety of goalscorers and willing full-backs mean we've been watching our team with a smile on our face over the last month or so. Add in a 12 point gap at the top of the Third Division then the Spiders have a difficult task ahead of them tomorrow.

Moving onto the away team's likely starting XI, manager Ally McCoist has a strong and nearly fully-fit squad to choose from. Only Andy Little, Kevin Kyle and Dean Shiels are struggling for fitness while Kal Naismith has been ill so if we are short in one area, it's in attack. However, we still have several options to choose from - captain Lee McCulloch can retain his place as our central striker while Templeton, McKay and Crawford are all capable of playing just off him.

Behind them in midfield should remain unchanged from recent weeks. Although Ian Black is fit again after a knee problem, he may have to be content with a place on the bench given the fine form of Lewis MacLeod and Kyle Hutton. That will probably depend on who the manager deploys on the right wing given the unavailability of the afore-mentioned forwards. He may choose to push Argyriou into a more attacking role as the Greek right-sided player also returns from injury.

This would mean the benefit of an unchanged back four - certainly Hegarty, Cribari, Perry and Wallace would fancy another chance to work together at the back; the latter having his red card against Annan Athletic rescinded. Although we've been free-scoring lately, it would be agreeable to tighten up our defence and certainly not offer any belated Christmas gifts to the hosts.

In any event, we can look forward to an exciting match in front of what could be Scotland's biggest crowd and with the visit to Hampden being our last match of a turbulent 2012, the Latin motto of amateur side Queen's featured in the preview title certainly applies more than ever - but this time it will be Rangers fans who appreciate the sentiment behind it.

Possible team (4-4-1-1):