Rangers versus MORTON
Sunday 12 February 2017
Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
Kick-off 3pm, Live on Sky Sports 2
Morton travel to Ibrox this afternoon to battle it out with Premiership Rangers for a place in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The fixture comes at the culmination of a dramatic week for the Glasgow giants in which manager Mark Warburton and assistant Davie Weir left their posts.
Rangers, for whom Under-20s coach Graeme Murty will be in charge today, currently sit third in the top flight but most recently suffered a 4-1 defeat away at Hearts followed by a 1-1 draw with Ross County.
They reached this round of the competition by beating Motherwell, while the Ton overcame Beith Juniors and fellow Championship outfit Falkirk to get to this stage.
In terms of league form, Jim Duffy’s men come into the game buoyed by a fantastic midweek win away at Raith Rovers in difficult conditions.
And the fact the Ton managed to secure a 2-2 draw at the Govan ground back in December 2015 should be a source of inspiration as they return to Ibrox aiming to pull off a cup shock of monumental proportions.
Jim Duffy told gmfc.net: “It’s a game to excite the fans and the players to look forward to. That’s always the case in such a high profile game.
“Players should thrive on that environment. That’s not always the case when you get there but it’s certainly the case before the game.
“To be honest, there’s not really been much time to think about it at all really, because of Tuesday night’s game, a real testing and demanding game, and after that we had to recover.
“It’s another really tough match ahead of us and the most important thing is that the players are ready for it, ready for the challenge.
“I think there is a good core in our squad who have played at Ibrox and played there more than once, and these things, of course, can be important.
“The vast majority of the boys have played there before so having previously been there means that they shouldn’t be as fazed or unfamiliar as they might have been.
“From that aspect, knowing the surroundings, the dressing rooms, the atmosphere and those type of things should help. Nevertheless, it’s still a huge task for us to go there and try and get a result.
“The nature of the beast when you’re a club like Rangers is that there’s always a bit more media attention and a bit more scrutiny, both good and bad.
“I’ll let Rangers deal with whatever situation is currently there just know, but I think within the confines of the dressing room and the pitch, they still have some terrific players there.
“That, ultimately, is what our challenge will be. It’s not about what happens on the periphery; it’s about what happens on the pitch.
“Rangers have some outstanding players, so we have got to handle that. Our job is to ignore anything else that’s being said and go and focus on the task ahead of us.”
Long-term absentees Conor Pepper and Jai Quitongo remain sidelined as does Gary Oliver, who received positive news from his midweek scan but still faces a few weeks out due to a slight medial ligament tear.
Fellow frontman Kudus Oyenuga managed 70 minutes of the Under-20s’ 4-0 loss at Albion Rovers on Wednesday but this match could come too early for him.
Loan striker Lawrence Shankland is cup-tied; however, Luke Donnelly has not appeared in the Scottish Cup this term and so is available for selection.
Midfielder Andy Murdoch came through the youth ranks at Rangers and went on to make 22 starts and two substitute appearances in the first-team, becoming something of a regular in season 2014/15, before leaving this term.
Current Gers star Barrie McKay spent the second half of the 2013/14 campaign on loan at Cappielow, scoring three goals in 18 starts.
Sun 27 Sep 2015: Morton 0-4 Rangers (Ladbrokes Championship)
Sat 15 Dec 2015: Rangers 2-2 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Mon 25 Jan 2016: Morton 0-2 Rangers (Ladbrokes Championship)
Fri 11 Mar 2016: Rangers 3-1 Morton (Ladbrokes Championship)
Last Time Out
Hitman Denny Johnstone fired Morton into a shock 1-0 lead at Ibrox back in March 2016 and had the travelling fans dreaming of going one better than the previous December’s memorable 2-2 draw.
But with just two minutes until the break, a softly conceded corner saw Kenny Miller head home a leveller and set a relentless Rangers side on the road to a 3-1 victory in front of just under 45,000 fans on a Friday night.
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Assistant one: Graham Chambers
Assistant two: Brian Templeton
Fourth official: Barry Cook
Entry is by ticket only.
Prices are as follows:
Concessions (Over 65 and 16 to 17 year olds): £15
Child under 16: £7
Image: David Bell