Shane Ferguson forced to wait as new signings prepare for Rangers bow

Rangers loan signing Shane Ferguson
Rangers loan signing Shane Ferguson

Shane Ferguson will not play for Rangers in Sunday’s Scottish Cup-tie with Raith Rovers at Ibrox – the Northern Ireland international is injured and has not yet arrived in Glasgow.

Three of Rangers’ new signings should feature however – namely Remie Streete, Haris Vuckic and Gael Bigirimana – and whilst there has been controversy over whether or not caretaker manager Kenny McDowall has been told they must play, the view of most Gers fans is that the new arrivals must surely be an improvement on the current squad.

Whilst only McDowall will know exactly what changes he will implement, it could well be that Richard Foster, Kyle Hutton and Steven Smith will make way for Streete, Vuckic and Bigirimana.

The fifth new signing Kevin Mbabu is also – like Ferguson – not yet in Glasgow due to injury.

The hope amongst many Light Blue followers is that as well as changes to accommodate the new arrivals McDowall will introduce more skill and imagination into his team selection by utilising such as Dean Shiels and David Templeton.

Rangers have been emphatic winners over the Kirkcaldy side in the two earlier League meetings between the clubs – 4-0 at Stark’s Park back in September and 6-1 at Ibrox in October.

Rovers currently lie sixth in the Championship with 29 points from 22 games and are unbeaten in their last five games, a run that has included an impressive 1-1 draw last weekend at Easter Road and a 1-0 win at Falkirk.

Ten goals may have been chalked up by the Ibrox men against tomorrow’s opponents – but this latest encounter is another cup-tie and McDowall emphasised that he has nothing but respect for the Fife side.

“Raith Rovers are a good team - they’ve proven that in the League,” he said.

“We’ve played some of our best stuff against them and hopefully we can do that again come Sunday.

“I would never disrespect them by saying that they are a team that we like to play because it will be a tough match regardless. It wasn’t that long ago that they managed to beat us in the Challenge Cup Final and we can’t forget that. Anything can happen in cup-ties and for that reason we have to be focussed on getting through to the next round.”

The league remains the priority of everyone involved with the club – but for McDowall the next game is always the most important.

“Our focus is entirely on the Cup at the weekend. At the end of the day it’s a national competition and it’s a great achievement if you can get to the final,” he added.

“This is a great Cup competition to play in. I won it myself as a player and it was a fantastic day, so it’s obviously a big game for us.”

Meanwhile, the long-awaited Extraordinary General Meeting will be held in London on Wednesday, March 4.

The notice of the meeting was released to the Stock Exchange on Friday morning and contained remarkable attacks on both Dave King and Paul Murray by the current Board.