This is part of a regular series from our panel of Super Fans on upcoming Rangers games. Ahead of our Scottish Cup clash with Cove Rangers, we spoke to Bryan Middleton, who can be found on Twitter @AndChance.
After a long wait Rangers will finally feature in this season’s Scottish Cup on Sunday when they host third-division outfit Cove Rangers in the Third Round.
The draw was made on January 10 but due to the subsequent postponement of lower-league football in Scotland as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the tie was delayed for months.
However, after being cleared to resume their Scottish League One duties in March Cove, managed by former Celtic midfielder Paul Hartley, have been cleared to take the trip to Ibrox as they eye the unlikeliest of cup shocks.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash, Ibrox News spoke to Cove Super Fan Bryan Middleton to get the lowdown on the opposition that will try to tackle the might of Steven Gerrard’s Premiership winning superstars.
Cove are currently riding high in League One and eyeing a promotion push, how delighted have you been with your season so far?
Having made a good start to our first season in SPFL1, our momentum was somewhat curtailed by the pandemic. Although pleased, I haven’t been surprised that we’ve been able to more than hold our own. We not only have a good side, but a few of the lads have already played at this level and know what’s required and their experience is invaluable.
How would you describe Cove’s style of play, and will this be altered completely to deal with the threat posed by the Premiership champions?
Our style is very much a football-playing, passing and possession-based one. Our former manager & current director of football instilled it into our team during our latter years in the SHFL. This has been continued since our promotion into the SPFL. I don’t think, and hope, our style will change for our cup tie at Ibrox, though understandably we may not be as attacking as normal. I’d like to think we’ll give a good account of ourselves and surprise a few people with our standard of play.
Who are the Cove danger men?
Our main goal threat will come from Mitch Megginson. He’s been prolific for us since he stepped back from the SPFL to join us in 2016. Other goal threats would come from the experienced Rory McAllister and Jamie Masson. Worthy of note are both Connor Scully and Blair Yule. Both joined the club as young lads and have more than flourished in defensive/midfield roles since we stepped up to the SPFL. We also have a very experienced and reliable goalkeeper in Stuart McKenzie.
What was the Cove reaction to drawing Rangers and is there any chance of springing a surprise on Sunday?
My reaction was one of delight, tinged with more than a hint of sadness that spectators were unlikely to be allowed at the game. Now that it’s nearly upon us, the disappointment is even worse, particularly amongst the many die-hard fans who’ve followed the club for many years. Some say it’s the biggest game in our club’s history. I’m just gutted that I won’t be there to share in the experience of “The Big Gers v The Wee Gers”.
As I mentioned previously, we like to get it down and play a good passing game. I’ll be happy if we do that and perhaps score a goal or two … I’m not expecting a win, but like all fans, I dare to dream!
Who do you fear most from the Light Blues?
I’m impressed with Rangers improvement since Steven Gerrard took over. They’ve now got their own style and system of play and are a very impressive strong unit. The pace of Ryan Kent would be my biggest worry … and probably the strength of El Buffalo up front. I must say I was disappointed to see that Ryan Jack won’t be fit to play in the game. He’s got quite a few good friends in our team from his time at Aberdeen who’d have been lining up to get the better of him!
With my head, a 3-1 defeat. With my heart, 1-1.
Just as a wee footnote, it’s been great to see so many Rangers fans supporting Cove‘s initiative to buy a virtual ticket. I’m sure this is much appreciated by the club and will go some way to replacing the revenue they’re losing out on as a result of no spectators being allowed. A genuine case of proper football fans supporting the smaller club.
In other Rangers news, our Super Fans react as Gers clinch key deal.