While most of the Scottish Football League enjoy the weekend off before Christmas, Rangers will make the eight-hour round trip to Elgin to fulfil a top-of-the-table fixture that was originally postponed on health and safety grounds after the home side sold too many tickets for the scheduled match last month.
With the deadline for Rangers’ share issue passing this week and with Christmas just days away, it is an expense that many of the Rangers fans could probably do without. Nevertheless, the Ibrox fans will still travel in their numbers expecting to see an eighth straight Division 3 victory.
Elgin are Rangers’ closest rivals in the league but defeat for them on at Borough Briggs on Saturday will leave them nine points behind Ally McCoist’s men having played a game more, so it really could be a case of the Light Blues all but wrapping up the Division 3 title before Santa Claus has even put on his hat and dusted down his sleigh.
The Black and Whites will take heart from the fact that they have home advantage after losing on both of their trips to Ibrox so far this season – 5-1 in the league and 3-0 in the Scottish Cup – and given that all of the points Rangers have dropped so far this season have come on the road.
But even with this in mind, The Gers should be far too strong for Ross Jack’s side.
As well as winning their last eight matches in a row, Rangers have kept six clean sheets during that run and have scored 15 goals in their last four games – an average of 3.75 goals per game.
Meanwhile, the home side have won only three of their last eight league games and have never beaten Rangers in five previous meetings, losing 6-1, 6-1, 3-0, 5-1 and 3-0. That’s an aggregate score of 23-3 to the Blues, with Rangers averaging 4.6 goals per game compared to Elgin’s 0.5.
With all this in mind, it is no surprise that Rangers are as short as 11/50 to pick up all three points, while Elgin are out at 15/2 and the draw is priced at 19/4.
Perhaps the best bet, however, is backing Elgin to hold out until half-time before being undone by Rangers’ superiority in the second. The Ibrox men have been level at half-time in two of their last three matches before winning in the end, and they have been level at the break in two of their last four games away from home.
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