Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has indicated his firm intentions to bring silverware to Ibrox this season, judging by remarks made in his press conference yesterday morning.
The ‘Gers travel to Hamilton in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup this lunchtime and, speaking ahead of that game (as per @RangersFC), the manager hinted that he would go with a strong side, saying: “No injury problems from the Hibs game, we go in with the same squad. There won’t be wholesale changes for the cup tie, we want to go all the way in this competition.”
Gerrard added that Ryan Jack would not be available for the match (as per @RangersFC), with the midfielder sidelined of late due to a calf problem incurred in the recent defeat to Hearts (as per Daily Record).
Gerrard’s statement that he won’t make “wholesale changes” to his team for the Hamilton game would suggest that he is in no mood to dismiss the Scottish Cup as a secondary competition this season. Having fallen seven points behind Celtic in the Premiership title race, the cup is perhaps their best chance of claiming silverware in 2019/20, having already lost the Betfred Cup final to their Glasgow rivals two months ago.
The tears of Jack at the final whistle that day at Hampden Park illustrated how badly Rangers wanted to win the competition, with the Ibrox club not lifting a trophy of any description since winning the Championship in 2016. Their last major honour came in 2012 when they won their 54th league title, with success in the Scottish Cup proving elusive. While their honour roll has remained stagnant of late, Celtic have won domestic trebles in each of the last three seasons and already claimed one trophy this term (as per TransferMarkt).
Gerrard may also be keen to build momentum at Rangers after a frustrating start to 2020, with league points dropped against Hearts and Aberdeen and a late Ianis Hagi goal needed to earn a 2-1 win at home to Hibernian in midweek. As noted by Sky Sports, the Ibrox faithful were not slow to vent their frustration whenever possession was relinquished on Wednesday night, indicating that patience had been wearing thin among many ‘Gers supporters.
Rangers had been building momentum just before the winter break after four consecutive wins took them to within two points of Celtic at the top of the Premiership but that has since evaporated after failing to beat Hearts and Aberdeen. Gerrard may have had the luxury of shuffling the pack in the previous round against League One strugglers Stranraer, making seven changes to his starting line-up that night, but a trip to fellow top-flight club Hamilton should pose a much sterner test.
Therefore, the manager would be showing the right mentality to go with a strong side for the visit to New Douglas Park and place plenty of value in trying to win the Scottish Cup, with just four more victories needed to triumph in the competition. Victory and a convincing performance against Hamilton could also build confidence and momentum in terms of seeking to revive their Premiership title bid.
Rangers fans, do you want to see Gerrard fielding a strong team for the cup game at Hamilton or should he rest some key players? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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