Shane Ferguson in line for Rangers nod against Falkirk at Ibrox

Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson
Northern Ireland's Shane Ferguson

Shane Ferguson may feature in the Rangers squad for the visit of Falkirk to Ibrox Stadium on Saturday afternoon - possibly as a substitute.

The Northern Ireland International played for 65 minutes of Rangers’ 1-0 win over Celtic on Monday evening in an Under-20 fixture following a frustrating injury-plagued spell that lasted for close to three months since signing on loan from Newcastle United in the dying hours of the January transfer window.

Rangers go into this game just one point clear of Hibernian in the race for second-place in the Championship and there can be little doubt that visitors Falkirk will travel to Glasgow on a high, having just last week reached the Scottish Cup Final with a stunning 1-0 victory over Hibernian at Hampden.

Currently lying fifth in the Championship with 52 points from 34 games, the ‘Bairns’ remain as outside candidates for the Play-Offs - and only a victory at Ibrox would keep their slim hopes alive - but it would be perfectly understandable were the focus for Peter Houston’s men to be mainly on the Cup Final.

Rangers have enjoyed a successful series of meetings with Falkirk during the current campaign - this weekend’s is the fifth in all with the Ibrox men remaining unbeaten, but the most recent encounter at Westfield back in February ended all square at 1-1, and Stuart McCall is only too aware that this latest encounter represents a significant challenge as the Ibrox boss outlined.

“Falkirk’s players will be desperate to play in the Scottish Cup Final and will use every opportunity they have to impress,” he said.

“They still have an outside chance of reaching the Play-Offs and don’t concede a lot of goals so we will have to be patient.”

Ian Black is suspended for this game whilst Ryan Hardie should retain his place in the starting line-up, given his two goals last week against Dumbarton. Youngsters Tom Walsh and Andy Murdoch are also likely to feature once again as Stuart McCall opts for an attacking line-up.

Kenny Miller should be available again after missing last week’s win at Dumbarton through injury - but both Jon Daly and Richard Foster remain unavailable.

Another product of the Ibrox youth system who will surely be under consideration is forward Calum Gallagher, who impressed last season but whose absence in recent months following his return from a loan spell at Cowdenbeath has mystified many. Calum netted the only goal of the game in that Under-20 Old Firm clash and there are those who believe he is overdue a first-team outing.

With two games, including the visit of Falkirk, remaining of the scheduled League programme, full points in each fixture will guarantee Rangers the runners-up spot in the Championship and with it one two-legged tie fewer on the lengthy and complicated Play-off system to secure promotion for next season.

Anything less than victory against the ‘Bairns’ would leave the Light Blues with a herculean task in their final game of the League season - a visit to Tynecastle to face Champions Hearts.