Rangers v Raith Rovers - Come May, we will be Champions

Match Analysis
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After the ridiculous postponing of the Cowdenbeath match last weekend, our collective minds turn to our next match, Raith Rovers, a club who broke so many blue hearts last April, this time at Ibrox.

Just over a month after the last meeting which the Gers strolled 4-0 Rangers again go into this one as strong favourites and eager to pile the pressure on Hearts who sit proudly and deservedly clear at the top of the table by 9 points.

This gap will be seen by some as too big to close and by others as next to nothing. Myself, I'm in the latter camp. With 3 matches against the Jambos to come and a long season ahead, I am in no doubt we will not only close the gap but win the league with ease in the end. I simply believe we have too many tools and far too many resources to fail. Come May, we will be Champions.

Anyway, back to the visitors for a minute, Raith Rovers. Rovers most famous trip to Ibrox is incredibly not a victory over home side Rangers but rather a well deserved trouncing of our bitterest rivals Celtic, though the managerial battle that day was very much an old firm tie, the true blue Jimmy Nicholl up against the most devout Celtic man, one Thomas "Tommy" Burns.

The date was November 27th and almost 46000 were in attendance. It was an outstanding match starting with Raith taking the lead through a young Stevie Crawford only for Celtic to equalise through current Sky Commentator and Celtic rep Andy Walker taking it to 1-1 at half time.

With only 6 minutes remaining in the match Charlie "Look at my diamond stud" Nicholas put Celtic ahead and the Celtic end were in raptures thinking they would see it out and the cup was won.

Two minutes later though, with Celtic fans still in full song, up stepped Mr Gordon Dalziel, alleged Rangers man who jovially claims he is a Motherwell fan whilst on the panel of Clyde 1 Superscoreboard, to pull the game level.

With the match tied 2-2 after extra time it was off to a penalty shoot out which Raith won 6 goals to 5 thanks to a dreadful Paul McStay penalty. What made this cup win sweet was the amount of Rangers men involved with the Raith team. It was almost, almost, an Old Firm type match as touched on from the managerial joust.

I can only imagine how they felt winning a trophy at the best stadium in the country, playing for and managing a provincial club, being a Bear and pumping Celtic. It was certainly the stuff of dreams, where legends were made. Fast forward 20 years and the connection and relationship between both clubs is not so cozy.

Raith's outward spoken chairman burned many bridges with Rangers fans with his big mouth because when we were looking for understanding and support from the Scottish football community, he was there to stick the knife in further.

Saturday's affair is likely to have a bit of bite to it, a bit of zip with both teams going all out to get one over the other. It's certainly a game we should win with ease though.

With us winning the last match between us comfortably, Raith struggling this season and nowhere near as strong as they were last season, it all points in favour of the home side. Then there is the inclusion of former Ranger Ross Perry in the visiting dressing room and hopefully their line up too and life gets even easier!

With only a handful of international call ups over the break Rangers welcome back Kenny Miller after his injury but will miss Bilel Mohsni through suspension, or not as the case most certainly is!

With Boyd free to play too after his shambolic disciplinary hearing, it gives the manager a headache with so many options up front.

One player who is definitely out is Marius Zaliukas who picked up a knock against Livingston a couple of weeks ago.

The Lithuanian was replaced at half-time against Livingston by Darren McGregor after picking up the injury in the early stages of the 1-0 win and is now apparently out for 'a few weeks'.

Ally has used this international break to work the players hard with cardiovascular and gym work dominating training. Hopefully the hard work pays off and we come out the traps flying and give the fans a performance worthy of our jersey.


Please feel free to comment below or on the forum thread for Super Cooper's match preview here - http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/vb/showthread.php?66233-Rangers-v-Raith-Rovers-Match-Preview