1. Made in Britain: After the failed Caixinha experiment Rangers will tonight start with a much more ‘British’ feel to the side. Pedro’s foreign legion are either gone or mostly out of favour and a series of British based loan signings in the transfer window has got the supporters on a high. Can the British boys deliver where the foreigners flopped? We shall see.
2. Desperate Derek: No-one has a bad word to say about Derek McInnes or the excellent job he has done at Aberdeen but…whisper it, there is a but. His record against both Celtic and more recently Rangers is pretty awful. He has lost 7 in a row against Brendan Rodgers and that includes two cup finals. Six of these games occurred in Celtic’s historic invincible treble winning season so maybe we can cut him some slack. But this season Celtic won comprehensively at Pittodrie whereas Rangers took 6 points in a few days with home and away wins over McInnes. It really is time that Derek started to deliver against the Glasgow giants.
3. Cash is King: The Rangers chairman Dave King and his board will be relieved that the winter break is over and the punters are back at Ibrox. Aberdeen will have 1800 supporters in the ground and the income from around the stadium from the home support will see the cash registers ringing again. Money remains tight at Rangers but a capacity crowd can do no harm – every little helps!
4. Celtic can’t lose: Having done their business last night Brendan Rodgers can sit back and await developments safe in the knowledge that points will be dropped at Ibrox. A home win will see Rangers join Aberdeen on 43 points and Graeme Murty’s side will move into second spot with a better goal difference. Celtic will be 11 points in the lead on 54 points. A draw and Celtic will be ten points ahead of the Dons and 13 ahead of Rangers and an Aberdeen win will cut Celtic’s lead to 8 points over McInnes’ side but will mean that Rangers would be a massive 14 points behind Celtic and completely out of the race. Accordingly Rangers will regard this as a must win match.
5. Madden is in charge: Bobby Madden will have his work cut out tonight – well it is a Rangers v Aberdeen game. Unusually this is the second consecutive league match involving Rangers that Madden has refereed and he was pretty much faultless in their 0-0 draw at Celtic Park at the end of December. Both managers would settle for the referee not being the talking point after the game but don’t bet in that happening!