Rangers welcome an old friend to Ibrox Stadium on Saturday when Ian Murray’s Dumbarton are the visitors.
The ‘Sons’ have not enjoyed the best of starts to the season, suffering consecutive defeats in their opening two fixtures – 1-3 to Raith Rovers at Kirkcaldy on the opening day of the new campaign and slumping to a heavy 0-4 defeat at home to Queen of the South last weekend.
Murray has worked wonders to keep his charges in the division during his two years in charge – Dumbarton finished in fifth place in last season’s Division One, just four points adrift of a Play-Off spot, and would surely not have anticipated such a traumatic start to the season.
Monday evening’s 8-1 demolition of Clyde has raised spirits considerably at Ibrox – the opposition may have been from Division Two, but the performance from the Light Blues was their most impressive thus far and Ally McCoist will be looking for a continuation of the Challenge Cup display.
The Rangers manager spoke enthusiastically as he reflected on last Monday’s 8-1 win as well as looking ahead to Saturday’s game.
“This is a tough game in a tough League but we’re enjoying it. Dumbarton will make it very difficult for us.
“We played particularly well against Clyde and we scored some really good goals – our finishing was excellent. We hope that we can carry on that momentum and take great confidence from the level of performance and the amount of goals we scored. “
There was praise for Kris Boyd, who scored a hat-trick against Clyde, having last year netted 22 for Kilmarnock in the SPL.
“It’s obviously important that you get goals from your strikers and Kris Boyd and Nicky Clark were linking up really well the other night. I thought the movement and the link-up play from those two was excellent.
“Kris is a confident lad at the best of times and generally speaking goal-scorers thrive on confidence and scoring goals. I thought his finishing - like the rest of the team - was excellent on Monday night. He’s been working hard and he got his rewards for that hard work with the three goals against Clyde and we’re obviously hopeful he can kick on from that.”
Ian Black is available for selection – but it remains to be seen whether he will be recalled with Lee McCulloch and Nicky Law the men in possession. Jon Daly, ammy Bell, Kenny Miller and Richard Foster all remain marked absent, with Canadian youngster Fraser Aird added to the list, having suffered a knee knock against Clyde.
The absence of the winger restricts Ally’s options in the wide positions – David Templeton is available, but whilst Barrie McKay could come into the reckoning it is more than likely that Lewis MacLeod, outstanding on Monday, will line up wide right.
Arnold Peralta is available again, having finally sorted out his visa problems – but a lack of match fitness is likely to mean that at best he will be used as a substitute,