A first time for everything: Rangers v Ross County

Match Analysis
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Following the disappointment of last weekend next up is Ross County at Ibrox which is as good a match as any to get back on track for a variety of reasons - not least of which is that County could leapfrog us in the table if they were to pull off a win. Put that alongside the fact that Hearts lying in second are playing a tough away match at St Johnston where they could realistically be beaten a win for us could push us back into second spot.

One unique feature is that Ross County made their first appearance in the SPL in our very first season out of it so this will be the first ever league meeting between the two clubs. In fact, there have only ever been three prior meetings between the clubs none of which were a league match or played at Ibrox though Rangers still won all three matches.

Season 1965/1966 Mon 28 Feb: Ross County 0 - 2 Rangers (Scottish Cup)
Season 2000/2001 Sun 18 Feb: Ross County 2 - 3 Rangers (Scottish Cup)
Season 2001/2002 Wed 28 Nov: Ross County 1 - 2 Rangers (League Cup)

Back to the present day and County currently sit just one point behind us and lie fourth in the table. As such, this is as good a chance as any to put some early space between us and what is arguably one of the most likely sides to be top six at the end of the season.

Comparing the rest of our previous league opposition to this point with that of County throws up some interesting and perhaps encouraging statistics. County were beaten 3-1 at Dingwall by Dundee in their first match of the league season who themselves were beaten 2-1 by us at Dens Park in our second league match of the season.

Then, in their most recent two games, County again faced opposition we have already played with a 1-1 draw at home to Motherwell last week and in their previous match beaten 1-0 away to Hamilton before the international break. Motherwell were of course beaten by us in both the League Cup on their own patch and in the Premiership at Ibrox while Hamilton, despite being outplayed overall, snatched a 1-1 draw at Ibrox on the opening day of the season.

In terms of our team, the defence is still in a state of flux with Rob Kiernan injured and Senderos suspended after his recent sending off that may be compensated for to some degree by others such as Holt, Waghorn, perhaps Rossiter and most recently the impressive looking Windass coming into contention - alongside a first outing at Ibrox for Joe Garner following a goal in his first full competitive 90 minutes for us. Joey's Barton's suspension by the club means he'll also miss out and it remains to be seen if he'll play for the club again.

All things considered, the events of this week may suggest that this match is in a sense more important to take a good result from than the last and it's crucial to begin a pattern of winning our home games consistently and convincingly. Both the players and the management team need to begin turning in the type of displays we know they are capable of and this would appear to be an ideal opportunity to do so: during a home match in which we can field a side with the qualities required to turn in an attacking display that could pin County back from the off.

To conclude, let's hope for a return of the exciting football we witnessed so often last term to shake off the blues of our first defeat of the season and to bolster confidence before a visit to Pittodrie where an away win at what is expected to be a top three contender could put us back in the groove of where we expect Rangers to be.

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