Rangers will come up against a friendly face this afternoon at Hampden, with Dominic Ball set to start for Aberdeen.
The defensive-midfielder was part of Mark Warburton’s Championship winning side of 2015/16. During those days, Rangers had him on a season-long loan deal from Tottenham Hotspur.
Playing just in behind the midfield, Ball was a terrific asset for Warburton, particularly against Premiership opposition. He was a large part of Rangers’ most memorable day in recent years – THAT Hampden semi-final.
Ball made a terrific 30 appearances for Rangers, but sensationally never scored a goal. The Englishman was always too concerned with protecting the back-line and doing the dirty work for his club.
Rangers can expect more of that today, but on the opposite side of the pitch. Ball will pitch up for Aberdeen this afternoon, and if he doesn’t start then he’s sure to come on in some capacity.
This isn’t the first time the Gers have faced their former man either. Ball has featured three times against his old side in the past, but has failed to win one of them. Two have ended in draws, whilst the Gers took the other in a 2-0 win at Ibrox.
Ball is often extremely quiet against Rangers, and is yet to stand out in a red shirt against the Ibrox side. Today will be the biggest occasion of any previous meeting, however, with a place in the Betfred Cup final up for grabs.
The on-loan Rotherham United man has done extremely well for himself at Pittodrie so far. He’s made a terrific 32 appearances in red, and unsurprisingly, hasn’t yet scored a goal for them.
The Rangers team has since evolved tenfold since Ball’s departure. Steven Gerrard has come in and took this squad several steps further than what it was when Ball was featuring regularly.
Scott Arfield looks like being Ball’s direct opponent this afternoon. The Canada star is only just back from a hamstring tweak, and Rangers fans will be hoping he can get the better of their former man today.
It’s always nice seeing Ball again. He gave it his all at Ibrox and never put a foot wrong under Warburton. He can look back on his spell at Ibrox and say it was a big success.
This afternoon, however, will see him come up against the Gers in their biggest duel yet.