After a nervy final 24 hours of the transfer window, with Chinese bids received and rejected for our top scorer, we survey the state of the squad and look forward to welcoming Hibs to Ibrox this weekend.
Neil Lennon's side will undoubtedly be combative. Look no further than the last game between the sides at Ibrox in August and the refereeing performance of John Beaton. At times it felt like a wrestling match Beaton was overseeing; and like all wrestling matches - he seemed to be steering towards a pre-determined outcome.
Jesting aside, like many, I struggle with the idea that referees are actually biased. But that doesn't meant that they don't jump through some ridiculous mental hoops when it comes to how they referee us. Are we judged to a different standard? It often seems that way. But more likely, the standard of our officiating reflects the standard of the Scottish game overall.
One of the the key protagonists for Hibs back in August was Anthony Stokes who, curiously, left Hibs on Wednesday by mutual consent. It seems even the bold Neil Lennon will only put up with his clear attitude and behavioural issues for so long, and that tells you something! Lennon has however brought in Florian Kemberi on loan from Grasshoppers Zurich to replace Stokes. He also brought in Cammy Bell from Kilmarnock, who replaces the departing Scott Bain who was on loan from Dundee and has now joined Celtic; as well as another couple of loanees - Jamie Maclaren and Faycal Rherras. Simon Murray who scored Hibs' first goal back in August has joined Dundee on loan, with Liam Fontaine going to Ross County.
How much of an impact those player changes will make for Hibs remains to be seen. But as ever at a clubs like ours, it comes down to our own attitude and application first and foremost. We will need to win the battle first, before we can settle to play the game on our own terms. Murty has instilled a bit of grit to the team and it's clear we find the big games easier to play in. With the new additions to our own squad, coupled with a productive training camp in the US for the Florida Cup, we've started the new year with confidence.
Hibs will no no doubt put us under pressure at various times. The last game between the sides in December saw them go a goal up in the first few minutes and they were clearly the better side until we scored two goals late in the first half through Windass and then memorably Morelos, with his cheeky near post finish after a glorious bit of skill to eliminate his marker. We saw the game out but Hibs were wasteful at times and the game could have gone either way.
Fans favourite Morelos remains with us for the time being. Murty's post match words on Sky following last night's scrappy win against Fraserburgh seemed to suggest that perhaps there wasn't much substance behind the bids from China though even BBC reporters have been forced into admitting they were genuine. Given their transfer window still has another month to go, speculation will no doubt continue. I would however start Morelos and resist the obvious GIRUY temptation to start with Cummings on Saturday. I think it's important we put an arm round the lad and make sure he knows he is loved and can progress his career with us. If he continues to improve he will get the move he wants so its not in our interests to stand in his way long term, unless we want to have a Dembele-like situation developing. A new contract may also be agreeable.
Much of the rest of the team picks itself in my view, based on the game versus Ross County. Cummings for me is a stick-on to come off the bench and get a goal. I for one can't wait to see his celebration and the look on the spoon burner's faces. In that sense, and now with a proven wrestler in our ranks, I can't see anything other than a Rangers win!
Possible team (4-2-3-1):
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