Tomorrow we go into our first Glasgow derby of the season, but the Broomloan won't be full of green and white hoops, there won't be tonnes of extra police and there probably won't be the same level of hate either.
Ibrox will be the scene of what is pretty much known as the original Glasgow derby. Queen's Park come to town, the oldest club in Scotland who's home is and always has been the national stadium, so it should be a pretty short bus journey for them. When Rangers were first formed by Moses McNeil and company and playing on Flesher's Haugh going against Queen's Park was a dream, the first competitive game eventually came on the 22nd of March 1879 in the Scottish Cup quarter final at Hampden, Rangers winning 1-0.
Fairly regular meetings began to take place after the formation of the Scottish Football League, but eventually as we all know Rangers fortunes took a huge upturn while The Spiders stayed and remain to this day an amateur club, something they're proud of. Our demotion to the Third Division means this is the first league game between the two teams since the 1957/58 season. Since then there has only been three cup meetings, the most recent being the 20th of August 1991 in the League Cup second round at Ibrox, Rangers winning 6-0 thanks to four goals from Mo Johnston and another two shared between Ian Durrant and Nigel Spackman.
Back to the present day, we not only find ourselves in the same league as our old local rivals but also below them in the table, with Queen's leading the way at the top. Our horrendous away form which reached it's lowest ebb when we lost 1-0 away to bottom side Stirling Albion leaves us 4th in the table, but the match tomorrow presents a chance go above our opponents and perhaps even top depending on other results. It feels like a long time since that painful display and result at Stirling after an international break, coupled with some off the field issues which have arisen this week i'd say it'll be a relief to us all to get back to the football.
Our home form leaves little to grumble about, we've won all three of our home games in the league and won well. However, our Ramsden's Cup exit showed our failings can come into Ibrox as well so we have to do so much better than the last fixture. The best news in a while is that Andy Little, still our top goalscorer for the Third Division, is back in the squad although there must be doubt about him being ready to start after a lengthly absence. Despite the last result I can see Ally McCoist going with pretty much the same line up due to lack of options, perhaps with Barrie McKay thrown in, Kevin Kyle could also get a first start and Kal Naismith staked a claim when he scored the winner against Forres. Sadly we still can't call on our exciting winger David Templeton so hopefully the likes of Fraser Aird and Dean Shiels can give us the creativity we so badly need, as well as the full backs Anestis Argyriou and Lee Wallace, two of our better players in my opinion. McCoist's managerial ability and position at Rangers has been the subject of some debate after a run of four away games and no wins but Charles Green has given him his backing so this is a great opportunity for him to start to turn things around.
There's an element of romance about the match tomorrow but the cold hard fact of life is it's a massive game for Rangers as we try and get out of this league and one that nothing other than a win, a good win many would say, is acceptable.
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