Tomorrow could count as a significant moment in Rangers’ season. For the first time since the middle of February, it is possible they can go above Hibs in the Championship table at a crucial and timely stage.
Andy Murdoch, the Ibrox side’s 20-year-old midfielder, believes a win tomorrow evening against Livingston could have the effect of “getting in the heads” of Hibs. Due to their Scottish Cup commitments, the Easter Road side do not play in the league again until a week tomorrow, when they also travel to face Livingston. Rangers will have played twice by then, and could establish a lead of six points as they bid to avoid a third v fourth place play-off.
Once tomorrow’s game is over, Rangers will have three league games left, the same as Hibs. Victories over the currently in-form Livingston and then Dumbarton on Saturday would give the Ibrox side a handy lead over their nearest rivals for second place, as the jostling for position intensifies.
Nothing is guaranteed of course. As well as being on a high following their Petrofac Cup win, Livingston have also won successive league games. In addition, Mark Burchill’s side earned a 1-1 draw at Ibrox in Stuart McCall’s first match in charge last month.
McCall said on his arrival that his aim was to recapture second place and now Rangers have the chance to achieve that, something Murdoch reckons could be a psychologically important moment.
“Obviously if we get a good result before another team kicks off, it could get in their heads, which is quite good,” he said. “If you hear something has happened before your kick-off, it might put a bit of extra pressure on you. You just have to try and deal with that.”
As well as being inactive this midweek, Hibs are otherwise engaged this weekend in the Scottish Cup. The Ibrox side play Dumbarton on Saturday, the same day as Hibs play Falkirk at Hampden Park. “Teams at the bottom are fighting against relegation and the teams at the top are fighting for promotion – every game is a hard game when you are playing against teams at the top and bottom,” said Murdoch. “Livi have been on a good run and they won that cup a few weeks ago.”
Murdoch’s own recent good form was recognised again on Sunday when he was named man-of-the-match in the 4-0 win over Raith Rovers, much to one particular team-mate’s surprise. “Yeah, it’s been good,” he said. “I have had a good run in the team, but I don’t think I should have got man-of-the-match because Nicky [Law] got two goals. He was giving me a bit of banter about that as we came off at the end: ‘was that your dad giving out the man of the match award?’ ”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS