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*** OFFICIAL PRE MATCH ANALYSIS ***


nvager
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Hibernian vs Rangers at Easter Road, December 29, 2007, Kick Off 12:30 PM

After 17 games we sit in second place in the SPL table with 38 points, two points behind Celtic, who have played 19 games. It is a very good position to be in after the debacle of last season when we were really uncompetitive.

Hibs away is always tough, but I really think we should win this game. They have gone off the boil so to speak and are looking for a new manager. It is imperative we win this as Celtic play at home to Gretna and have a later kick off. I cannot see them dropping any points and Bobo is back.

Our away form is not too good. We continue to drop silly points. We must not do so again if the title is to return to Ibrox. Again this is a MUST WIN game. From now on every game fits that category. We will have our noses in front if we win our games in hand versus Gretna and St. Mirren. If we can win our next two games we have a chance to go 7 points clear later this month. An amazing turnaround. Are the players up to the challenge?

A look through the team and at the quality of recent play is frankly not reassuring. Our defence has slipped of late. D Weir in my opinion has played too much and is looking tired and slow. B Ferguson is in a similar position. This is not good as they are so important to this team. A winter break this year after all the Scotland games would have been terrific.

Hutton is managing and Cuellar is terrific; left back is a conundrum and that puzzle is far from solved; midfield is another area that can be much improved, but we have some depth at striker.

The really good news in my opinion is that JCD and Novo are available and Walter showed last week that he is willing to start Burke and play Buffel.

That gives us a chance to add the missing pace and flair for this game. We need to put teams on the back foot. Our defence needs a rest - not put under pressure. There is now more choice available in midfield and more guile and pace - if Walter chooses to use it.

My guess is he may very well add some pace and flair vs Hibernian, but I think he may play it rather differently at Celtic Park.

Frankly I have no clue what formation and personnel Walter will field versus Hibernian. There is an abundance of choice. I only hope he has plenty of flair and pace where it matters. I think it is not too good that we have such an unsettled team nearly half way through the season, but then again with so many new players in the squad Walter needs time and the pressure is most definitely on.

For more information and discussion on formations and personnel please see the official Hibernian vs Rangers thread by Muffger.

My prediction is Hibernian 1 - 3 Rangers.

A win is a must.

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