Rangers travelled to Links Park to face Montrose in Division 3 just six weeks ago, but such is the nature of Scottish football, they face Stuart Garden’s side again on Saturday, this time at Ibrox, in a match that was, until Tuesday, really struggling to get any juices flowing at all.
The Gers have been so dominant in the Third Division of late that they have dropped just two points in their last 14 matches.
Even a spooky convergence of history couldn’t help Peterhead halt the champions-elect last weekend and tipsters like me were left wondering whether they will ever lose another Division 3 match again.
Then, enter Peterhead manager Jim McInally to ignite an unexpected fire beneath this otherwise routine match.
It appears that the Blue Toon gaffer was less than impressed with what he saw during last week’s 1-0 defeat to the Gers at Balmoor.
Speaking to the Evening Times on Tuesday, McInally launched a blistering attack on Ally McCoist’s side, accusing them of under-performing, criticising their fitness levels, questioning the amount of money the players are earning and accusing them of being nowhere near as good as they should be.
It was a somewhat bizarre attack considering that Rangers lead the Division by a full 19 points and are 23 points ahead of Peterhead, but it does reflect a more widely-held belief that Rangers still possess a number of weaknesses that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
For example, the Light Blues have kept just one clean sheet in their last four games and have scored one goal or fewer in three of their last five.
The accusations of a lack of fitness are also backed up by the recent stats, with three of the last four goals that the Ibrox side has conceded coming in the second half of matches.
Question marks also remain over the abilities of several of McCoist’s summer signings, including Emilson Cribari, Sebastien Faure, Fran Stella and Ian Black.
Flagship summer signing Black might be a known as a defensive midfielder but he hasn’t failed to score in any season since 2006/07. However, he has yet to find the net in 22 appearances for club and country this season, despite plying his trade three levels below where he is used to.
But the big question is if these inefficiencies are enough to make us doubt whether Rangers can beat Montrose on Saturday – and the answer is no.
Rangers have picked up 28 points out of a possible 30 at home and have beaten the Gable Endies on every single meeting between the sides in their history, so victory looks assured.
Montrose, however, have breached Rangers’ shaky rearguard in both match-ups this season and so backing them to find the net again could be the best way to make money in this one.
Bwin are offering odds of 11/10 on the visitors scoring a goal and new customers who sign up online and use their free £20 bet to back this outcome stand to win £42 if successful.
In the 3-way betting market, Rangers are overwhelming favourites at 1/10 to win, while the draw is 7/1 and the visitors are out at 12/1 to pick up an unlikely triumph.