PREVIEW: RANGERS - ST. MIRREN
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu return to action on Wednesday as Rangers square off against St. Mirren in a fifth round Scottish Cup replay at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow.
Both Americans are expected to start for head coach Walter Smith in a match which will see the winner earn a quarterfinal date versus Dundee United.
Edu did not factor in Sunday's Scottish Premier League victory over Hibernian in what was his first match as an available player since an ankle injury sidelined him three weeks ago.
The Californian midfielder should be fresh and ready to go for Smith who will likely be calling on the other unused substitutes from Sunday to help take up the slack versus the Saints. The head man will have the luxury of a full squad at his disposal.
Unlike Edu, Beasley did see time over the weekend and was effective in his 45 minutes of play. The winger also took part in the first 70 minutes of a reserve league match on Tuesday as he continues to ramp up and fine tune his play following a thigh strain that kept him out six weeks.
Rangers are the two-time defending cup champions and are showing their class in SPL play sporting a 10 point cushion in first place with just 13 matches left in the season.
As much talk as there has been about the Light Blues' output on offense with star strikers Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller, it has been the unheralded efforts by the Rangers back line that has spearheaded the team's success this season.
The Glasgow club have shutout opponents in seven of their last nine matches and on Wednesday would love to replicate their performance from last January 27th when they defeated St. Mirren 0-2.
The visitors are reeling entering Wednesday's affair having not tasted victory since a January 12th SPL triumph over Aberdeen.
Steven Robb tweaked his hamstring during Saturday's defeat versus United and will be a gameday decision for head coach Gus McPherson.