Rangers v Thistle - preview

Last updated : 20 September 2002 By Dunster

After an abject failure in Prague it's Plastic Whistle at Ibrox this Saturday for the first time since 1996 when we coasted home by a 5-0 scorline.

In fact, since the inception of the Premier League Thistle have only managed 8 victories out of 40 games, a return of 20%.

In the Ibrox clashes things are even bleaker as Rangers have won 13 of the 20 clashes, drawing 6 and losing just once. We have won 7 of the last 8 League encounters and you have to go back to 1992/93 for the last Thistle victory.

Their last victory at Ibrox was in 1981 so all in all things don't look so good for them this Saturday and I fully expect a Rangers victory, in fact nothing less will suffice.

It is really difficult to second guess Mr McLeish as to what team will take to the field this Saturday given the paucity of satisfactory performances in the Czech Republic.

Does he go for the "Second chance" school of management where the players are given the chance to redeem themselves, or does he put a few over-inflated egos on the bench to ponder their abysmal workrate.

Unfortunately I fear injuries will dictate that changes are minimised although the return of Amoruso will be a boon to a depleted defence. Personally I would like to see Arveladze droppped in favour of Mols, not as an adherent of Mols, but because Shota has been badly off the boil for the last three games.

Arteta's return will supplement a midfield which was badly over-run in Prague, and deBoer can move up behind the front two where he looks much more comfortable, and can do much more damage.

I suspect Thistle will be on the wrong end of a Rangers backlash and go for a 4-0 or 4-1 victory to keep us top of the table, with the speed of Lovenkrands proving just too hot to handle.