Helicopter Sunday, Kyle Lafferty’s league winner are amongst many recent brilliant victories etched in our clubs history, for Rangers, Easter road is a place where magic can happen. Yes that’s right, the Graeme Murty band wagon rolls on to meet our old ‘friends’ from the Capital on Wednesday night, safe in the knowledge that the Easter Road clash has the potential to be as pivotal as any game Rangers have encountered this season.
Rangers find their selves in second place and only five points behind the leaders, despite it being widely reported we are a team in crisis, sacked our manager and lacking class or whatever adjective is thrown at them on that certain day. I won’t sit here and tell you Rangers will win the league but what I will say is perhaps things aren’t as clear cut as the media will make you think, Rangers are very much in the hunt and a little bit of belief from everyone and you just never know what could happen.
One things for sure that as Rangers visit Easter Road on Wednesday you can rest assured that we will be facing a very difficult tie and a very good side in Hibernian. No point sitting here and refusing to acknowledge that, they have some good players in Murray, McGinn and a couple in McGeouch and Stokes that will be fired up as ever. Their manager will certainly have them fired up, after all Rangers are always the biggest draw for our league so they will be up for it from the off. They have the ability in their team to continue their fine run against Rangers and with what’s sure to be a capacity crowd, as it is wherever Rangers go, it is sure to be a fantastic Match.
Rangers though go into the match in buoyant mood and good form, Graeme Murty managing to string together 3 wins in a row in the league for the first time in almost a year. Not something to overly celebrate but I’m sure we are all collectively hoping that the players are now free of that tag and can go on from strength to strength. This has the potential to make or break our season in many ways, Saturdays victory has given the players the platform to head into the game with confidence and Graeme Murty will know that a victory here could really ignite his credentials for the Rangers managers job on a permanent capacity. The players will be desperate to keep the run going as well, despite everything they still have a big chance and they simply must believe in their ability.
Saturdays win was vital and excellent in a way that it had something which we have lacked in such a long time, the ability to grind it out and win despite not playing well. This used to be a factor in every Rangers team I have ever watched, winning when it seemed hugely unlikely. Lets be honest there was parts of Saturday which was absolutely turgid but we ground it out and the positives again outweighed the negatives.
After going a goal down to an early header, Rangers lacked the bite and drive they possessed in recent victories over Aberdeen. Ross County were organised and sat in hitting on the break when they could. Rangers though were sloppy in possession and Ibrox lacking in atmosphere, it wasn’t the best first half. Worth pointing out however that Ryan Jack sat in the stands watching this game, his suspension upheld by the SFA this week, perhaps they should be held accountable to how an identical challenge on Jason Holt in the 43rd minute at the Copland end didn’t even warrant the County culprit being spoken too. Double standards or another honest mistake? So 0-1 at the break and a couple of long range shots apart, Rangers were avoid of any real way to break down the County defence, at HT it really did feel like it was to be one of those days.
However to his credit, Graeme Murty changed things bringing on Alfredo Morelos for the enigma that is Carlos Pena, switching to a straight 4-4-2 with Alfredo leading the line. Windass and Candeias provided the width and Rangers should have been on level terms on 53mins but somehow Morelos bundled the ball wide. But to his eternal credit he did bag the equaliser on the 60th minute, sweeping home a great cut back by Candeias who provided his 6th assist of the season. It was a brilliant moment for the young Columbian who has went over 10 games without a goal. The fans know we have something special in the hitman so will hope he can find that killer instinct he had early on this season, what better time to find it after all.
Rangers then pressed without really creating much and having lost Ross McCrorie to injury, looked like we might be about to drop more points. But the team kept going, won a free kick and Danny Wilson was there to knock in Rangers second and the winning goal. There was still time for the obligatory heart in mouth moment with a 93rd minute scramble in the box, but we survived and the team did deserve the three points on desire alone.
We need to wait and hope young Ross McCrorie is fit and well to take his place in the middle this Wednesday, he has become a vital part of our engine. Will we change shape and formation again? I would hope Alfredo Morelos starts as his confidence should be high.
Winning on Wednesday would put down another marker and certainly confirm that Rangers are capable of staying in the hunt, This really has the feel of being a massive match and much like the Aberdeen game I fancy our lads to win the match. Best of luck to Graeme Murty and the lads on Wednesday night, bring the 3 points home!