Rangers will hopefully get their Scottish Cup campaign started in the Fourth Round tonight at Central Park, Cowdenbeath against our old “Friends”. Rangers have contributed towards an air shelter to blow hot air onto the park in an attempt to guarantee the fixture, they could’ve saved some money by getting the BBC football team down at pitchside instead…
I still can’t believe we used to be in the same league as The Blue Brazil given our “journey” this season. Who could forget Hearts beating them 10-0 one week, then us drawing 0-0 the week after under the guidance of Ally McCoist?
Cowdenbeath didn’t have a winter break and managed to win a couple of games in a row against Elgin City and Berwick Rangers respectively. They did, however, lose their last game against Clyde 1-0. Consistent in their inconsistency. They currently sit seventh in League 2 with 27 goals for and 23 goals against in their 20 games. Unless you follow lower league football, you won’t recognise any of their players. Except maybe one.
Championship Manager Mainstay
Mark Fotheringham. Formerly of the unwashed parish, he is most remembered, not for his actual footballing career which has been decent, but for his potential on Championship Manager (01/02 I think). In the game in which Mark Kerr became an international superstar, Mark Fotheringham was always worth a punt. He is also Cowdenbeath’s current Assistant Manager. A clichéd journeyman professional, Fotheringham has 12 clubs to his name including stints in Switzerland and Cyprus. In fairness, he’s also played for Fulham and Norwich City, where he was club captain.
Rangers Formation Dilemma
Rangers were looking to use this game originally to introduce Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe. With hindsight, starting them against one of the toughest opponents in the league maybe wasn’t the best idea. Steven Gerrard’s team selection will be an interesting one. I think he’ll go for as close to a first XI as possible to maintain momentum but he’ll have one major decision to make. To stick with 4-3-3 or go to a 4-4-2 diamond with Ryan Kent playing behind Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe again. As with the first date, Ross McCrorie is suspended and Connor Goldson and Eros Grezda will miss out through injury.
Rangers will dominate possession, that much is pretty obvious. People will ask “why do we need a defensive midfielder against Cowdenbeath?”. James Tavernier/Jon Flanagan and Borna Barisic/Andy Halliday will be playing almost as wingers, a defensive midfielder will be there to cover them and break up any counter attacks. Almost as a third centre half. My biggest worry is, if we keep the 4-3-3 formation, our fullbacks and wingers will get in each other’s way. We’ve seen this plenty times before playing against a packed defence.
The one aspect that I feel is key in this sort of game is fitness. Rangers will be vastly superior in this regard. If Rangers press consistently in higher areas, they will get a lot of joy. To get two or three goals in front early on then gives the manager the option of resting and rotating players. High intensity for the first half hour please Mr Gerrard.
It shouldn’t really matter what formation Rangers play, as long as the intent is there. Yes, Cowdenbeath will be up for it, but this isn’t McCoist’s Rangers. As for my prediction, I think Rangers will win 4-0. Hopefully, the game will be done by half time and not be 1-0 going into the last 15 minutes. One last thing, if you’re going to the game, wrap up warm, get the tights on under the jeans, it’s going to be a cold one!