Dundee Super Fan delivers verdict ahead of Rangers clash
This is part of a regular series from our panel of Super Fans on upcoming Rangers games. Ahead of Rangers’ game against Dundee FC in the SPFL, we caught up with Dundee Super Fan John Neill from @TheDarkBlues.
Rangers travel to Dundee on Saturday afternoon as they look to build on their 2-0 win over Livingston on Wednesday and improve on their 1-1 draw with Motherwell.
The Gers sit at the top of the table with 13 points, while Dundee are rock bottom of the table.
The Dark Blues have failed to win at home or away but, weirdly, are unbeaten at home, having drawn all three of their games, so it could be a tough test for Steven Gerrard’s men.
Ahead of the game, we caught up with John Neill, who runs the @TheDarkBlues Twitter account and forum.
What have you made of Rangers’ start to the season?
I’ll be honest. I do not think that this Rangers team is firing on all cylinders at the moment. This has been shown with the performances in Europe this year.
Gerrard has Rangers playing well, but there doesn’t seem to be the same confidence and dominance that he would want on the park from last season and certainly not at the same level when you won the league last season.
However, will it be enough for the Scottish Premiership? Yes, I believe so.
What have you made of your start to the season?
Many Dark Blues fans had a certain expectation after our promotion back to the Premiership, staying in the league and hoping to finish as high as possible away from the drop or play-off zone. I have personally said a finish of tenth place would do for us this season, as this would give us a chance to build on our squad the season after and hopefully compete a lot better.
McPake has stayed loyal to the players who helped us win promotion last season, and I believe they are adjusting to the difference between the Championship and Premiership and the step up. There was no massive overhaul to the playing staff this year, and we have only brought in a couple of fresh faces.
We are currently goal-shy, even though we have three proven goal scorers for this league. We are creating chances but not taking them when we should, and this has cost us dearly. In the latter stages of the game, we tend to give away silly goals.
I expect us to do better once Charlie Adam is fit and back in the team.
Who should Rangers fear?
I expect that you mean from our players and not from the other teams in the league?
I would have to say, Adam, Leigh Griffiths and Jason Cummings are the players who can make something happen for us. However, I do not expect Adam to be fit for this game though.
Paul McMullan’s speed and crosses can cause a lot of problems for other teams. His assists last season helped us get promoted.
Who are you scared of on the Rangers team?
I don’t think scared is the right word here. But I think we have to respect certain players, Glen Kamara for one and Scott Wright the other.
We know them both well, as they both have played for the Dark Blues. Kamara is a fantastic player and is good at breaking down opposition play and attacks. On the other hand, Wright is quick and can cause a lot of danger down the side.
However, I would say James Tavernier will be the one to cause us a lot of problems and most likely to get on the scoresheet.
Where can Dundee hurt the Gers, and which player can they target?
I think if we are to score, it will most likely come from a set-piece.
Last season we did pretty well from our corners, with McGhee and Ashcroft getting the end of McGowan’s crosses. We also have Adam and Griffiths, who are fantastic dead-ball specialists, and if given half a chance around the edge of the penalty box, they could put the ball away.
Who will win the league?
Usually, there is a winner before the games have kicked off in the Scottish Premier League. It has been like this for nearly 40 years, it’s either Celtic or Rangers who lift the league trophy, and other clubs outside of Glasgow have to make do with 2nd or 3rd as a consolation prize.
This year, I do not think it will be so cut and dry for a couple of reasons.
Celtic have started their league campaign so badly under their new manager, but I expect them to get their act together and start climbing the league at some point.
The two Edinburgh clubs have started really well, Hibs in particular under Jack Ross, but I cannot see Hearts continuing their really good run over the season. I would like to see Hibs win the league for a change, and they could very well put a lot of pressure on Rangers over the course of the season. However, I think Rangers will be too strong for them and win the league.
So, I predict Rangers to win the league with Hibs in second place.
We have done well against Rangers at Dens in recent years. This is the only ground that Gerrard hasn’t won at in the Premiership, as the last time these two sides met ended in a 1-1 draw when Kenny Miller got on the score sheet for the Dee.
However, I expect Gerrard to get his first win against us on Saturday and will go for a 2–0 loss for us this time.
Interesting match ahead for Rangers.
The Bears have not had the greatest of starts to the season and have looked flat in some games.
Last Sunday against Motherwell, they didn’t really impose themselves on the match, and the Steelmen left Ibrox with a deserved point.
Dundee FC have had a poor start to the season, but they have performed well at home and have scored all of their league goals at Dens Park, so the Gers might have to be wary.
Leigh Griffiths also has a decent record against the Gers, having scored four goals in 19 games, and this could be his last match for a long time with an impending ban hanging over his head [Scottish Sun].
So, we wouldn’t be surprised if he got on the scoresheet, and we are expecting a tight game as the Dark Blues look to keep their unbeaten home record intact.
In other Rangers news, Barry Ferguson blown away by the latest news from his old club.