Sitting down to write the preview this week was extremely difficult. Funnily enough the first thing that entered my head was a well known comedy sketch in Fawlty Towers. I am sure nearly everyone will remember the hotel getting German guests and Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) strutting about shouting “Don't mention the war”. That is the feeling I have at this time: “Don't mention the war”.
The war I am struggling not to mention was of course our 5-1 capitulation at Ibrox last week against Celtic. It was a bomb blast in the lives of every Rangers supporter. You could say that just like Basil Fawlty and his waiter Manuel (Andrew Sachs), the Rangers team played out a comedy of errors. The difference is watching Basil and Manuel making a fool of themselves was hilarious. Watching the Rangers team make a fool of themselves was far from funny. They always say you need bad things to happen to you to make you stronger, so this is one of these times we need to prove this piece of psychology has an element of truth. Lets face it, if we as supporters can't pick ourselves up and once again get behind the team, then how do we expect the team to pick themselves up and come out fighting with all guns blasting.
With that in mind we move on to Sunday where the Rangers team take the short trip to Firhill park. I personally have good memories of Firhill as being brought up in Kelvinhaugh and later Kelvingrove, Firhill was always within walking distance. I have even played there in an amateur trial game (unsuccessfully) and I also remember watching Scotland Schools beating England Schools 2-0 with my boyhood friend Jim Kelly; the ex-Ross County player and manager, who started his career with Partick Thistle under Bertie Auld, playing a huge part in that win.
I also found it funny when visiting Firhill there were also always a number of supporters who watched the game from the hill behind the stadium. I noticed on TV last week they have now placed large advertising boards to prevent that. Commercial interests dominate modern football and every penny counts these days. “Mr can I have a lift over the turnstile” days are long gone. It is more like the song from the flying Lizards, I need money, (that's what I want). Pedro Caixinha may be bringing out a cover version this summer!
Pedro has stated that he will start telling players next week whether they have a future at Rangers or not as he strives to build a team to challenge Celtic for the league next season and will need a large amount of cash to do so. As for now he has to make the best of what he has and build them up for the fight to finish second in the league. Sunday's game will be a perfect opportunity for players to prove to him they have a worth or put them in the shop window to attract other clubs. He wants the players to be professional and fight to the end but as we all know if you know your number is up it is difficult to find the motivation to fight on. So that may play a role in the games to the end of the season.
Picking a team for Sunday may give some insight to what players may be staying and I think he will keep Foderingham in goal, even although he had a shocking game last week. (Aaahhh... Don't mention the war!) I personally would like to see what Alnwick can do; to be honest as Foderingham regularly makes more mistakes than good saves and for such a big guy he is a nightmare at crosses.
Tavernier, Hill, Wilson and Beerman will also keep their places more out of little choice for change than anything else. Midfield is the difficult place to guess how Pedro will set up. Will he stick with the lightweight trio of Hyndman, Holt and Windass, or will there be recalls for Toral (if fit) and Halliday? McKay has been a non-starter of late and O'Halloran must have hard skin on his bottom by now with the amount of time he has sat on the bench. Miller is probably the only certainty for a place in attack with Waghorn, Garner, Windass and McKay fighting it out for the other two places.
I think Pedro's team will be: Foderingham; Tavernier, Hill, Wilson, Beerman; Holt, Toral (if fit), Halliday; Waghorn, Garner, Miller
Lets hope we can all get that losing feeling out of our system and get back to winning ways again; it certainly makes a week on the Rangers forums a happier place so from now on remember “Don't mention the war”.
C'MON the Rangers!
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