Saturday at Ibrox will see Rangers take on their final home match of the season, facing off against Kilmarnock.
So far this season the Rugby Park club have won all three previous encounters. Points, all three of them are vital for the light blues if European football is to be seen again next season.
Here are the 5 storylines to follow vs Killie:
1-WILL THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF STEVIE G PROVIDE A BOOST?
Steven Gerrard is the new Rangers manager, at last, the worst kept secret in football has been confirmed.
How it affects the players remains to be seen, however, I only hope it is in a positive manner, spurring them on to a far better performance on every single level than the one witnessed last Sunday. That was a disgrace.
My opinion has shifted from one of trepidation to excitement over this appointment, it’s simply blockbuster. People all over the globe are once again speaking about the greatest club in the world in a positive light.
Many of the players who will take the field on Saturday won’t be at the club beyond the summer, they are simply not good enough or strong enough mentally, Gerrard will have seen the tapes. This and the remaining games give any player an opportunity who is on the borderline a chance to impress, stating why they should be retained.
All aboard the Stevie G express train.
2-WILL JIMMY NICHOLL CHANGE SHAPE?
Jimmy Nicholl takes charge of the side on Saturday following the departure of Graeme Murty. One of the many criticisms levelled at Murty was his stubbornness or unwillingness to either adapt or alter his formation and shape, even after players and staff raised concerns.
This will be an intriguing watch just to see what changes will be made, or if the players are more receptive to carrying out instructions, with a new manager no doubt watching on.
I don’t think we will see the same line up as we did at Parkhead on Sunday, I expect two or as many as four changes to that side.
3-THE FINAL HOME GAME FOR HOW MANY PLAYERS?
As previously mentioned I don’t expect too many of this current crop of players to still be at Ibrox next season, they are just not up to the challenges, pressure or ability-level required to be a Ranger. Many of them are quite simply bidding time, with moves already lined up or not wanting to injure themselves for any impending departure.
Others are just not up to it. Simple as that.
I won’t be sorry to see the back of most, if any of this squad. They have failed to produce and flattered to deceive big game after big game. Goodbye and good riddance, I have seen enough of your second-rate effort or ability.
It will be interesting to see how the crowd responds, I fully expect the players to get the full backing but many have given up on this squad, not just me.
4-CAN WE STOP BOYD?
Kilmarnock front man and mouthpiece Kris Boyd always has plenty to say about his old team, more than he ever did during his second spell with the Ibrox club.
In previous Games we have been bullied and outfought by the Player of the Year candidate, making our defenders looking abject at both Rugby Park and Ibrox matches so far.
We must stifle not only the former Scotland striker’s eye for goal but the service he receives, he is not going to run in behind us or drag defenders into wide areas, nor has he needed to, so far. Stop Boyd playing, and we go a long way to stopping Kilmarnock’s chances of victory.
We have struggled to defend and keep clean sheets this season, hopefully Saturday will see a change in this trend. Maybe Russel Martin has a few games left in the tank, I doubt it on the evidence I have seen but I can live in hope.
I applaud Boyd’s charity and the focus it brings to mental health but for once I’d like us to do our talking on the pitch, rather than off it. Go to work. Talk is cheap.
5-WIN THE MIDFIELD BATTLE
So often we have been outnumbered or just plain outplayed in the midfield this season, especially at Ibrox. Teams just play deep and narrow at the back, crowd the middle and have been allowed to play triangles through us.
This trend must be halted if we are to gain a result in our final home fixture. I have seen the movie so many times, it is more predictable than a Rocky movie, not nearly as good and without the win of course.
For me Graeme Dorrans has been substandard, so much was expected on his arrival with a player of his pedigree and experience. He has failed to deliver and is not alone in this.
We need players to stand up and be counted, not shrink away or look for any excuse as to why they are not performing.
Win our battles all over, pick up second balls and get tight to your men, if you’re not having a great game just make sure your opposite number is not either by doing the basics.
There is no excuse for some of the level of goals we have conceded, it has been comical at best, it has looked like the goals a BB team would concede on a Saturday morning. We lack leaders and players who want to take responsibility.
Show up for once lads, your time here is running out. Have a good look around because the only way is down after you leave this great club.