Preview- Rangers (a)

Last updated : 07 April 2006 By Firparkcorner

It would be easy to write us off before a ball is kicked on Saturday. For a start, regardless of our own performance, we might be consigned to the bottom six by Aberdeen beating Hibs at Pittodrie. To stand a chance we have to overcome the seemingly impossible challenge of winning at Ibrox.

The Kaiser sets up an attack

Now, while some of you may have wanted a ridiculously over-optimistic piece proclaiming victory is possible, it is quite simply not going to happen.

Our record in Glasgow recently is nothing short of diabolical and even when up against what must rank as some of the worst Rangers sides of all time we have fallen short. Sometimes we have been unlucky but more often that not our players and tactics have simply not been good enough. Rangers are now stepping up their chase for a Champions League spot and it is madness to predict anything other than a loss for us with confidence.

But…we are, after all, Motherwell. A win on Saturday is surely no less likely than it was on Owen Coyle day and there are scores of other examples when we have produced the miraculous when all seemed lost. We will be further hampered by the absence of Brian McLean – who can't play against his full time employer – and Stevie Hammell who is missing due to suspension. This will force a reorganisation of some kind although with the pace possessed by Rangers it might be a good idea to forget all notions of defending and go for a kamikaze style and hope to shock them.

More likely, Butcher will bring in Kinniburgh and Paterson or Quinn (if fit) and attempt to play it tight. It might be a romantic thought to see us go charging at Rangers but there is no point in giving the game away early. The goal, as always at Ibrox, will be to keep it 0-0 for 65 minutes and then see what happens. They need the three points as much as we do so if we can succeed in this goal, they will be forced to throw men forward and will leave themselves open to the sucker punch which could send us into the top half of the table.

Of course, it is so much easier to type the plan than it is to put it into practice. In only one of the recent games against Rangers has our defence held out for any more than mere minutes and with largely the same personnel facing up again there is no real logic suggesting anything will be different. As ever, we will travel in hope rather than expectation.

Ultimately, the boys will come close but not quite close enough. It has been, in points terms, a good season but we will miss out on the top half this year. Rangers to take it, 3-1.