By Jack Cunningham

21st Nov, 2021 | 10:10am

Hibernian Super Fan previews Rangers Scottish League Cup game

This is part of a regular series from our panel of Super Fans on upcoming Rangers games. Ahead of Rangers’ game against Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup, we caught up with Hibernian Super Fan Matty from the @longbangers podcast...

Rangers face Hibernian in the Scottish League Cup semi-final on Sunday, and we caught up with Matty from the @longbangers podcast ahead of the game.

Rangers have acted swiftly to replace Steven Gerrard after he decided to take the Aston Villa job, and the Gers have brought Giovanni van Bronckhorst back to the club.

Sunday comes too early for him to be in the dugout, but he should be watching on, and we are fascinated to see how he does once he gets control.

The Gers players need to use this game as an audition for when van Bronckhorst can take control of the team.

Our Hibs Super Fan is certainly expecting a good match, and he provided us with some brilliant answers.

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What have you made of Rangers’ start to the season?

General consensus in the media seems to be that Rangers haven’t hit the heights of last season, but from the outside looking in, they’re clear at the top of the league and in a cup semi-final, and still competing in Europe – it’s hard to see where there’s room for improvement.

Were you surprised Gerrard left?

It was a surprise he left as quickly as he did when the interest from Villa became apparent. I think everyone accepted Rangers were a stepping stone for him and Villa are a huge club by anyone’s standards, but I thought he’d want to try and put back to back titles together or go out with having won one of the cups.

How will Rangers react to Gerrard leaving?

It’s a big upheaval with Gerrard taking a very talented backroom team with him, but my guess would be that Rangers have an established and good enough squad that they’ll continue as they left off, at least in the short term until the new manager is appointed, then it’ll come down to how well they put their ideas across and what changes they make.

What did you make of the first game at Ibrox?

The game swung on the red card to Porteous and the lack of a red card to Lundstrum early doors. Hibs were comfortable though nowhere near dominant until the red card, a goal up and looking good for a second. After the red card, Rangers took control, and Hibs rarely threatened after that. Rangers are a very good attacking side, and they kept probing until they got the goals to deservedly win the game in the end.

Who worries you on the Rangers team?

Rangers genuinely carry a threat from virtually every area of the pitch. The full-backs are both capable of great deliveries into the box, and Hibs have been susceptible to goals from crosses all season, so the big worry comes from the flanks. A lot will depend on Boyle and Murphy, if fit, being able to occupy the full-backs defensively to limit their threat.

Can Hibs mount a serious title challenge?

We’ll be nowhere near it this season; we’ve already dropped enough points that even third would be a push. The general direction the club is going in is positive, though, but nobody in Scotland has the financial clout of Rangers or Celtic, so barring a miracle, there’s very little chance of anyone mounting a serious, sustained challenge.

Who should Rangers watch out for?

The obvious answer is Martin Boyle, who has been one of the standout players in the league over the last couple of seasons, Kyle Magennis, if fit, will play a key role as well.

Cup winners?

Probably St Johnstone. I think it’ll be between Rangers and Celtic, to be honest. Celtic’s attacking play at Easter Rd earlier in November was superb; they could have scored six by half-time, but defensively they’re suspect. Rangers don’t look as threatening but do have a very good balance across the team. So to summarise, Hibs will win it.

Score prediction?

Rangers to win on penalties in normal time.

What do you think of GvB’s appointment?

I haven’t followed his managerial career, but I know he won the title with his previous club. He was a fantastic player and understands Rangers and the pressures there, so I’d expect him to do well.

Fantastic answers.

Thanks to Matty again for providing us with some great insight and good opinions on the Gers.

Certainly, this should be a tough game as the first match at Ibrox earlier in the season was until Ryan Porteous was sent off.

It will also be intriguing to see how the players respond to Gerrard’s departure.

A lot of this current squad arrived under the 41-year-old, while others became key players, so it will be fascinating to see what the response is from the players ahead of GvB’s arrival.

Either way, though, you would expect Hibs to be up for this one because of what is at stake, and we anticipate a close match between two pretty evenly matched sides.

Hopefully, the Gers have what it takes to make it into a cup final and earn the chance to win some more silverware this season.

In other Rangers news, the Gers are set to finalise a few deals over the weekend for GvB’s backroom staff.