Match Preview: Rangers v Dumbarton - Eyes on the Pitch? Not really

Match Analysis
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The end of one year, the beginning of another. Did you do all you promised yourself you would do, hitting those targets and achieving those goals? Or did you drift along yet again, wasting precious time which becomes ever more cherished as the clock ticks past midday?

I know what my middle aged stopwatch says, which is why I find myself in the kitchen at midnight, tapping away at the ever welcoming but always indifferent electronic universe, trying to avoid weighing up the unimpressive accounts for the year. At least on the football front 2015 has started about 10,000,000% better than the last three or four taken together.

On the plus side, much was done in the saddle of a lovely new bike: Decathlon stores may not be everyone's taste, but they do offer a fabulous range of entry level road bikes at reasonable prices. It turns out sports stores don't have to be horrible chambers of cramped unloveliness, with dismal employment conditions which pay tribute to the dark, satanic mills of what we, perhaps mistakenly, thought was history.

The highlight of my cycling year was unquestionably a circuit of Arran in blistering sunshine - every day seemed to be sunny last summer. It was truly an exceptional year in that regard.

And in others, too...I have no bother admitting it took months for my chin to lift following the referendum result. When Alan Cumming spoke of taking the result personally, I could empathise hugely: it was not, as so many online commenters seemed to think, that he was insulted by 'No' voters or by the result, but that on a personal level he felt devastated, as one would by a death in the family or the loss of a job. Given the state of The Rangers, you can imagine what a grim autumn and winter 2014 ended with.

As Rangers lurch - I refuse to use the past tense just yet - from parody to farce by way of slapstick, with the preferred destination apparently the morgue, the news that supporters rather than businesses are building a shareholding is to be cautiously welcomed, not because of suspicion over the people involved but because too much has happened to allow unqualified optimism. You worry that something will go wrong, leaving the charabanc to splutter unsteadily on under the driving of Easdales & Co., combining all the grace and panache of a Trabant with the sophistication of a frustrated panzer division.

Rangers under the Easdales, even by proxy, is like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, living off past glories and stolidly ignoring changes taking place around it. The threadbare divas of the board have produced some of the most crass administration ever seen in the world of football, every attempt to dress themselves in golden thread being destroyed by their bare arses showing through. Rejecting money from fans while on the point of bankruptcy is suicidal enough to please even Norma Desmond, but while the faded star had her servant and lover, Max, the Eadales' Rangers has no Max to save it: it only has Mike Ashley, no-one's idea of a devoted servant.

What Rangers has (had?), though, is plenty of fans heading steadily for the swimming pool marked 'exit'. No doubt when Sandy Easdale descends the Marble Staircase for the final time, hopefully soon, he will intone 'All right, Mr Ashley...I'm ready for my close up.' He's either completely thick or so insulated from reality as to defy intellectual categorisation. The present Rangers are only explicable as some celluloid horror show. Reality doesn't come into it. Eventually, though, the movie has to end: perhaps the credits are beginning to roll.

Well, we force our attention, somewhat unwillingly, to the football as Rangers turn out against Dumbarton on Saturday, then, with some renenwed hope in the stands. Will it be matched on the pitch? Strangers things have happened. The players are very down, though, and a decent performance will be as unexpected as it is unlikely. Kenny McDowall has few cards to play following last week's Edinburgh debacle, short of throwing in fringe or youth players. Doubtless he's thought about it, but reality dictates he will probably give the usual failures one more go. My likely team prediction:

Simonsen, Foster, Wallace, McCulloch & McGregor, Law, God help us Black, Templeton & Smith, with Clark & probably Daly up front, given the poor showings of Boyd and Miller.

But in all truth you could probably throw anyone in and get the same level of performance - there's a long way to go on the pitch, at least, and it will take more than one day's good news to get there.

To end on a philosophical note, there's only so much time left on the clock, and I for one don't have enough spare to worry about things I can hardly control. So here's to 2015. Happy New Year to one and all, regardless of who you vote for or which football team you support. Who knows? This may be the year The Rangers shake off their sickness, and some unforeseen event sees Ms Sturgeon enter office as President of a new nation. At this time of year, anything is possible!

Please feel free to comment below or on the forum thread for Andy's match preview here - Match Preview: Rangers v Dumbarton - Eyes on the Pitch? Not really