In just under 24 hours Mark Warburton will lead his side into a Scottish Cup final at Hampden as Rangers look to lift the national trophy for the first time since 2009. Warburton, speaking at yesterday's pre-match press conference, revealed he had already picked his side to take on Hibs and try book a place in next season's Europa League.
Dom Ball will be an big loss for Rangers as he serves a suspension picked up in the semi-final win over Celtic. Another key player looking likely to miss out is Harry Forrester. The ex-Doncaster winger fractured his leg in the Petrofac Cup win over Peterhead and had been in a great run of goalscoring form before injury struck. Billy King and Michael O'Halloran are cup-tied having played for Hearts and St. Johnstone earlier in the competition. Ryan Hardie is also ineligible after his loan spell at Raith Rovers.
The starting XI will be as close to Rangers' best team given that, with the exception of one player, the team really picks itself. Wes Foderingham will start in goal behind the usual back four of James Tavernier, Rob Kiernan, Danny Wilson & Lee Wallace. Wallace and Tavernier have been in great attacking form while centre-backs Wilson and Kiernan have come in for some criticism recently over their defensive abilities. All four have been consistent stand-outs this season and have been a big reason for Rangers' success.
Ahead of them, Andy Halliday will anchor the midfield with Dean Shiels and Jason Holt just ahead. Shiels was used to great effect in the semi-final against Celtic to nullify the threat from their latest wunderkind Kieran Tierney. Warburton will be hoping the Ulsterman can deliver similar in what may prove to be his final Rangers appearance. Andy Halliday will probably be glad to see the close season as it means he might never have to play as a defensive midfielder again. Used to playing further forward, Halliday has had a good season in an unfamiliar role and, as a fan of the club, will be desperate to lift a third piece of silverware this season.
Barrie McKay will take his usual place ahead of Lee Wallace as he prepares for his first trip with the senior national side. McKay has had a phenomenal year under Mark Warburton and Davie Weir and if he can score another one like his semi-final screamer against Celtic it would be a perfect ending to a pivotal season in the youngster's career. Martyn Waghorn is fit again and will be aiming to break the 30 goal mark for the season. Waghorn's proven a lot of people wrong this season and the South Shields striker has ran defences ragged all season long. After Jason Holt, Waghorn has arguably been the best signing of last summer. Kenny Miller takes the final place in the side and goes against his former club in what could be his final cup final appearance. Miller has, like Martyn Waghorn, proven a lot of people wrong this season and there were more than a few grumbles when it was announced he had signed a one-year extension to his contract late last year. His legs have gone just a wee bit but he's still probably the most intelligent player on the park. If anyone was to score a last minute winner it'll be Miller.
Cammy Bell, Nicky Law, Nicky Clark, Gedion Zelalem & Liam Burt will make up the subs with one or two others under consideration.
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