After what seems like an eternity since our last game, Rangers are finally back in action against Falkirk tomorrow at Ibrox. With both teams currently unbeaten including a 100% record for Mark Warburton's men, something has to give in what is sure to be an open, exciting match.
Although most of the Championship attention has been on a much improved Rangers side this term, it would be remiss of me not to give credit to our opponents. With St Mirren dropping down to the Premiership, Hibs strengthening their squad and dangerous sides like Queen of the South also eager for promotion, Falkirk have perhaps started this campaign somewhat under the radar of most commentators. OK, they've perhaps only played seven games to our eight and have dropped points to Alloa and the Doonhamers but in Peter Houston they have an experienced coach whilst retaining a young squad more than capable of challenging the rest of the teams in our league. Add in the experience of players like David McCracken, Mark Kerr and Lee Miller then Falkirk won't be rolling over as some have against us this season.
Moving onto Rangers and clearly much has been said about the attacking, possession-based style of our squad this term. Crowds have flocked to our games in high numbers and despite a disappointing 1-3 defeat in the League Cup at home to St Johnstone, few teams have managed to match us on the day - and even in that loss, we still could have scored more than the single goal we did. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Falkirk setup tomorrow given they conceded seven goals in their exit against Ross County in the same competition. Peterhead - a side we managed to see off in an earlier round - also scored five in their win over Falkirk in the Challenge Cup. I think it's safe to say Peter Houston may be worried ahead of tomorrow's match. On the other hand, although we've been free-scoring, our attacking style does leave gaps at the back for the opposition to expose as well and the likes of Craig Sibbald will be eager to take advantage of that on the break. Suffice to say, there's not much chance of a 0-0 tomorrow afternoon!
In terms of the Rangers starting line-up, I wouldn't expect many changes - even if Warburton and Weir do like to rotate a few players from time to time. In defence, the increasingly impressive Wes Foderingham will start in goal with James Tavernier and Lee Wallace most likely in the full-back positions. Central defence may be more interesting and it wouldn't surprise me to see Dominic Ball (on loan from Spurs) feature from the start tomorrow with one of Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson partnering him. Although Kiernan has perhaps edged it performance-wise over Wilson so far, I'd fancy the latter is still seen as the management team's first choice centre-half. Under-20s skipper Ross McCrorie has been training with the first team but that will be with a more long term view.
Into midfield and again there may be one or two changes from the team that beat Morton convincingly last Sunday. First of all, on-loan Arsenal youngster Gedion Zelalem is away on international duty for the short term with the American under-23 squad so he'll miss the next two or three games as their Olympic Qualifying campaign takes place in the USA over the next fortnight. That may mean a competitive début for former Man Utd youngster Jordan Thompson but it's more likely Nicky Law or Dean Shiels will start. Although his form has arguably dropped off slightly Andy Halliday should retain his position with Jason Holt being the most offensive of the three central midfielders.
That leaves us three attacking positions and last week's hat-trick hero and top goalscorer Martyn Waghorn should be the first name on the team-sheet for tomorrow. The former Wigan man really has impressed so far - be it centrally or in wider positions - and the likes of Nicky Clark and Ryan Hardie will find it difficult to dislodge him as it stands. Interestingly, Scottish under 17 international striker Liam Burt has also trained with the first team this week but will have to wait for his début. Barrie McKay and Nathan Oduwa should start in the wider roles and they'll have to be on top form again to create the chances we'll need to take to extend our nine point lead at the top of the table.
All in all, I'm hoping for another 45,000+ crowd tomorrow and am expecting a fairly open game with several goals. See you there!
Probable team (4-3-3):
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