Just a few days out from the Scottish Cup semi final at Hampden, the buzz is really starting to build as fans look forward to one of the most anticipated Old Firm clashes in a long time. Despite the sides meeting little over a year ago many Rangers fans went into that match with no expectation of a result, and in some cases a real fear of a thumping at the hands of our bitter rivals, but this time it is different. Very different.
A win for Rangers would be a massive result and could have huge repercussions across the city. Ronny Deila isn't exactly flavour of the month with his club's support and defeat on Sunday will only serve to further increase the pressure on the Norwegian and will likely lead to renewed calls for him to be sacked or resign. For Rangers victory would be a step closer to a unique treble and a place in next season's UEFA Europa League. It would also be a good marker of where we are going into the Summer transfer window and will give Mark Warburton an opportunity to see where his side are in comparison to the, supposed, best team in the country.
Last weekend's Petrofac Cup win at Hampden served as an ideal dress rehearsal for the Old Firm as it gave some of the players who haven't played at the national stadium an opportunity to get familiar with the stadium. Despite this, the players will play on a completely different pitch after it was ripped up immediately following Sunday's game and relaid ahead of this weekend's fixtures. Dundee United versus Hibs 24 hours earlier will be a test of the new surface and, although it's not a great barometer of it's condition and playability, it looks in much better condition than the one seen last weekend.
The big discussion point will be who replaces Harry Forrester in the Rangers starting XI. The English man suffered a fractured fibula against Peterhead and is set for a spell on the sidelines. There's a number of alternatives to choose from without the need to make massive changes to the side and Dean Shiels is probably favourite to start ahead of Nicky Law, Nicky Clark and Gedion Zelalem. Whether Forrester's replacement starts out wide or in the middle of the park remains to be seen and will likely depend on if Mark Warburton feels someone like Andy Halliday or Jason Holt may offer more out wide.
There could always be a curveball though...
If Waghorn can prove his fitness ahead of the game, he said on Sky Sports News he hadn't given up hope he could do just that, then it would be a massive boost. The 28-goal striker has shown he's a threat in front of goal and his physicality would give the opposition's defence something different to worry about.
Maybe, just maybe, there's one more trick in the Magic Hat