THERE’S a big match with Championship play-off implications taking place on Thursday night. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks at the odds.
Queen Of The South v Rangers | Thursday 19:45 | BT Sport 1
Both these sides had very encouraging weekends. The home side masterminded a superb win at Easter Road that kept their play-off hopes alive, while Rangers were too strong for the champions Hearts on Sunday.
That win over Robbie Neilson’s men was something not seen at Ibrox for a long time, a Rangers side putting in a slick, impressive performance against quality opposition. Stuart McCall’s arrival as manager certainly seems to have galvanised the club.
Indeed, it’s now three league wins in a row for Rangers, they’re on their best run of form since November and one of the players from their glory days is at the helm again. Does the road to recovery start here?
For Queen Of The South it’s been their best season in decades. The Dumfries club have a realistic chance of making the end of season play-offs despite this being arguably the toughest ever edition of the Scottish second tier.
Their victory over Hibs on Saturday was doubly impressive when you factor in that they’d lost their two previous matches, a 2-0 loss to the champions preceded by a painful 3-0 defeat away to Raith Rovers. That could have derailed their hopes but to come back and beat Hibs at Easter Road was hugely impressive.
The Doonhamers have also relished playing Rangers this season. A draw at Ibrox last month was on the back of a memorable 2-0 win at Palmerston in December.
Indeed, it’s the rickety iconic ground that may hold the key to this game. Queen Of The South’s home league form has been outstanding this season with 10 wins from their 15 matches. Wins to nil have been achieved over Hibs, Falkirk and of course Rangers and they’ve scored in 10 their last 11 league matches there.
One thing that would concern me about Queen Of The South is their habit of following up fantastic results with sloppy performances. Their win over Hibs in September was succeeded by a loss to Cowdenbeath, and after that memorable win over Rangers before Christmas just one win in five followed. Will we see a similar pattern emerge here after Saturday’s Easter Road win?
This has been a hard game to make a call on, but I’ll side with Rangers at odds-against with Paddy Power. Stuart McCall’s influence is having the desired effect on the pitch as we’ve seen in recent weeks and 11/10 is very fair.
It’s also possible Queens may have their big match with Falkirk on Sunday in mind as they bid to reach the play-offs and cement their wonderful season.
Queen Of The South v Rangers – Rangers to win (11/10 Paddy Power)
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