August isn't even over as Rangers prepare to enter their second Cup competition of the season having already dispensed with Hibs and Clyde in the Petrofac Training Cup, attention now turns to Queen's Park in the first round of League Cup. Though Queen's Park are the home side this fixture isn't taking place at Hampden but instead at the rather less salubrious surroundings of the Excelsior Stadium home of Airdrie due to Hampden being reconfigured back to a football ground after the Commonwealth Games.
Excelsior Stadium was a happy hunting ground for Rangers last season opening Friday night with a memorable game ending in a six nil victory exactly a year a go on 23 August with the second game being a rather nervy, dire not so memorable one nil scrap with Lewis Macleod scoring the games solitary goal.
The League Cup has been a source of some bitter disappointment for Rangers under the stewardship of Ally McCoist especially last season's disastrous first round extra time defeat away to Forfar. However McCoist's managerial record against Queen's Park is considerably better having won all four League encounters against the amateur Spiders in 2012-2013 reasonably comfortably save a one nil victory at Hampden where the reaction amongst the Bears that day was one of collective palpable relief when Fraser Aird scored the late winner.
Back up to date and we enter this match on the back of two impressive home victories the 8-1 trouncing of what admittedly looked quite a poor Clyde side and Saturdays' 4-1 turnover of Dumbarton. In both encounters Rangers played rather more fluently and the midfield seemed to have more purpose about them than previously even with McCulloch shoehorned back in there. Perhaps the absence of Ian Black is a source of more positives than negatives.
McCoist has well and truly demonstrated that he doesn't regard Cup competitions as an opportunity to blood or even give a run out to youngsters so I don't expect many personnel changes on Tuesday night.
Assuming the injury situation remains the same I expect McCoist to opt for the same starting eleven as Saturday:
McGregor - Zaliukas - Mohsni - Wallace
Templeton - Law - McCulloch - MacLeod
Clark - Boyd
Personally I'd drop the bombscare that presently is Bilel Mohsni, move McGregor to partner Zaliukas and give Faure who appears to be looking in the best shape of his spell at Rangers a run out at right back though I'd like to see him get a decent run at centre half to see if he can cut it in there.
I'd also bench McCulloch and Templeton move Lewis Macleod into a more central position and for the want of anyone else stick Smith on the left side and give the pacy and impressive Gallagher a game on the right, but that ain't going to happen!
Please feel free to comment on the forum thread for forlanssister's match preview here - Match Preview: Queen's Park vs Rangers