The first of April is a day to make practical jokes on people. It is called April Fools day. On Saturday the first of April Rangers entertain Motherwell at Ibrox. That seems like a joke in itself as it seems like only yesterday we were listening to “In Dulci jubilo” and “Frosty the snowman”. One thing that will be no joke is that Ibrox will have a full house. What a fantastic support we have when it comes to supporting our club; we are certainly no fools. Some other clubs treat their supporters like fools by counting empty seats to inflate their crowd numbers. They claim a full house while half the seats are empty. That is not the Rangers support. At Ibrox a full house is full to the brim of full seats. As I live abroad I cannot take any plaudits for that but what pride I take in even calling myself a Rangers supporter.
One thing Motherwell and Rangers have in common is that our managers have only been in the job for a few weeks, so on a tactical base, things are a bit of an unknown entity. Pedro Caixinha lined up his team against Hamilton in a bit of a 4-2-3-1 formation so I think he will probably stick to that formation. Unlike Mark Warburton, Pedro seems to analyse teams and base his training sessions on any weaknesses he has spotted. He tries to spot where they leave space to form our attacks and then base his training sessions in getting the ball into those areas as quickly as possible. Whereas Warburton went for a slow laborious ball retention style of play to wear the opposition down, Caixinha has gone for a lightening quick one or two touch transition into space that has been pre-determined as an opposition weak point. Not considering opposition tactics was probably Warburton's biggest weakness and our inability to break other teams down probably cost him his job and the support of the Rangers board and fans.
Motherwell's tactics will almost certainly be a 4-5-1 and hope to frustrate Rangers. They have the worst goal difference in the league and if Rangers beat them and Hamilton, and Inverness can win their home matches against St Johnstone and Kilmarnock, which is not unthinkable, then Motherwell will find themselves down in bottom place on goal difference. A place you certainly don't want to be with only nine games to go. I think we can safely say that Motherwell will set up to defend defend and defend. It will be interesting to see if Caixinha has the team sharper to pierce through a packed defence than Warburton had. In fairness we beat Motherwell on four previous occasions this season but we were biting our finger nails in a few of those games.
While we were all enjoying our international break (no laughing at the back) Caixinha has had most of the team training six days a week to get them more used to his style of play. I would imagine all Rangers supporters can't wait for kick-off time and are like kids waiting for a new toy at christmas. Isn't it great to be talking about football again? Pedro certainly talks a good game and his weekly press conference was a breath of fresh air to listen to. On that note he is certainly a huge improvement on the amazingly tedious Warburton who said virtually nothing but a few clichés week in, week out. His pressers were as tedious as the football we were playing under him this season. Anyway we have entered a new period in our proud Rangers history and hopefully Pedro will be leading us to League title number cinqüenta e cinco.
I think the team will be almost the same as against Hamilton with the exception of Tavernier as he is suspended. Hodson will probably be a straight swap for him. Toral was excellent in his defensive midfield role against Hamilton so it looks pretty tough for Andy Halliday to get back into the team unless it is in a more advanced role. Waghorn has also had a new lease of life after Warburton left so I think Pedro will stick with him as the main striker.
I think the team will be: Foderingham; Hodson, Wilson, Hill, Wallace; Toral, Holt; McKay, Hyndman, Miller; Waghorn.
Let us hope that Rangers are only April Fulls and that Motherwell will be the real April Fools.
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