Tomorrow night, we play in the second part of our two match Firhill for thrills instalment. The League Cup quarter final gives us a chance to quickly turn around the disappointment of Friday night.
I would normally use this article to break down recent form, key battles, potential team selections and the likes. I realise, though, that all I could add to Friday’s match preview is the latest result. The line up either side will start with is hard to predict, as both will see upcoming league matches as vital.
I’ll give some thoughts and team predictions later in this piece, but I want to first mention what I believe could be the main point of discussion for Rangers fans this week. According to a report in a newspaper we won’t mention, Windass is to be cited by the Compliance Officer. This is for his gesture towards a Thistle fan on Friday night.
Welcome back, Mr Compliance Officer! How was the holiday? You must have been out of office, right? There’s loads you missed…
If Windass is cited, never mind suspended, Rangers should be incensed. I’m of the opinion Windass was daft to react. I know how easy it is to make a mistake like that, but there’s no real excuse. The club should have at least had a word (they may have done so), if not fined him. In terms of the wider responsibility of the Compliance Officer, though, precedents have been set. Over the course of the season, players, managers and club officials have got away with a number of things which should have been looked at. I’ll bet every club has a list of grievances, be it off the ball incidents, dives, bad tackles, or the rest. It’s already felt like ages since we heard from our ever-vigilant support mechanism. The season is only 6 games old!
The way this whole thing is utilised is inherently flawed. The role of the Compliance Officer was put in place to support referees in the main. It’s acknowledged that they can’t see everything. In theory, I have no issues with the role. The way we currently use it is a nonsense. This selective selection of incidents to cite does nothing for the game at all.
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When has the Compliance Officer once cited someone for something which wasn’t hugely pointed out by pundits or the media? Players have been retrospectively banned for diving – why is that such a small number in comparison to the amount who actually dive in games? Are we supporting referees, or playing to the gallery?
This should be an all-or-nothing approach. The role should have clear definitions of what is to be cited, and every game scrutinised. Don’t dip your toe in the water, jump right in. To avoid suggestions of bias, use representatives from every club as part of the process, and debate each incident. If the point of this is to improve Scottish football and support our referees, involve the game.
Or do nothing at all. Accept that things can’t be perfect, mistakes are made, and that’s that. Our current approach is open to abuse and bias, and whether that exists or not that makes it unfit for purpose alone.
Football fans can, in the main, accept inconsistency. Be it players, refs or managers, we know that the game has huge amounts of random factors. Part of the fun is the complaints about that and the “what if” scenarios you imagine. In the moment, that can be understood.
But for someone who is given the time and authority to look deeper into the game to be so far from consistent is farcical. This is something typical of Scottish football. We’ve come up with what seems to be a good idea, then implemented a half-arsed approach when putting it into practice. The fans and the clubs deserve better. Funnily enough, much like our cup quarter final, when it comes to the Compliance Officer, we’ve been here before.
On the game tomorrow, one of the most interesting things will be the team selection. There are suggestions that Lee Wallace may be out for a while with a groin injury which requires surgery. This gives Declan John his chance to play, and he’s one of the few I’d say is certain to start in the cup game. With Saturday in mind, and players who will no doubt be carrying knocks, I expect changes. The problem is that Caixinha really needs to win the game, so there can’t be too many of them.
My predicted team is:
I think Herrera would have started had we not been under a bit more pressure, but he’ll be used from the bench now. Pena needs games, as does Rossiter. I would be surprised if Jack is fully fit after a couple of heavy hits on Friday night. Kenny Miller already looks like he’s running on empty, so I’d hope he’s benched. I do feel he’ll be playing at the weekend, though.
The Thistle team is just as difficult to predict. I got their selection very wrong on Friday, and I reckon they’ll make more changes than we will. If you take away that poor 15 minutes after half-time, we were a good bit better on Friday, but didn’t create enough chances. We’ll be hoping to see a reaction from the players, and should expect Thistle to play a bit better as well.
I think we’ll look to tighten up at the back tomorrow, and as such it won’t be an exciting game. I’ll go for a 2-0 win for Rangers, but not an easy one.
What’s your predictions for tomorrow? Tweet us @rangersnewsuk with your thoughts!