Stirling Albion’s injury problems have eased ahead of their Third Division match against Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow.
Jamie McCunnie, Danny Ashe and Jamie Clark are again set to miss out but Ashe and Clark would have been unlikely starters in any case and several of those of who were forced to sit out the 2-1 defeat to Queen’s Park a fortnight ago are now back in contention.
Experienced full-backs David McClune and Kieran McAnespie are fit again, skipper Brian Allison – the goal hero when Greig McDonald’s side stunned Ally McCoist’s men 1-0 on October 6 – has recovered from illness while Gary Thom is free of suspension after serving atwo-match ban. That quartet form arguably Albion’s first-choice back four, although the recent loan signing of Jamie Bishop from Forfar have increased McDonald’s defensive options. Despute this, whoever plays is likely to have a busy afternoon, with Third Division leaders Rangers strong favourites to rack up a comfortable win.
The Light Blues welcomed back long-term absentees Fran Sandaza and David Templeton to the squad for Sunday’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Elgin and McCoist told the Rangers website: “It definitely feels like there’s a bit of strength and depth in the group now.
“The good thing about that is it gives us a pleasant headache with regards to selection. That’s not just the case with the team but also benches and that’s important as it’s good to have potential game changers to come on.”
Rangers are expecting a near capacity crowd and are planning to mark their 140th anniversary with a card display before kick-off, while several stars from down the years are expected to attend.
Stirling haven’t played a league match at Ibrox since a 5-0 defeat in March 1968 and it would be one of Scottish football’s biggest ever shocks if they were to repeat October’s Forthbank fairytale.
That was a rare high point in a miserable season and Albion go into the game five points adrift of East Stirlingshire at the foot of the table, with just one point to their credit away from home.
Binos boss McDonald said: “I’m sure Rangers will be keen for revenge after what happened last time but we will be doing our best to go there and spoil the party.
“There will be a big crowd but there is no pressure on us and it’s a great opportunity for our young players.”
Stirling Albion are back in action on Tuesday night (December 11) when they face East Stirlingshire in a rearranged game at Forthbank, kick-off 7.45pm.
All children under 17, accompanied by a paying adult, will gain free admission to the match against John Coughlin’s men.
Shire won this fixture 3-1 at Ochilview in September and the teams meet again on the plastic pitch on Wednesday, January 2. Before then Stirling have tomorrow’s trip to Ibrox, home games against East Stirling, Berwick and Peterhead and a visit to Montrose to contend with.
●Stirling Albion Lotto numbers for December 5 were 14, 18, 28 and 37, with no jackpot winners.
It means that Wednesday’s jackpot has now risen to £10,250.
There were four three-number winners — Will and Ann (Vinney’s Bar), Tony Haughton, Emma Kelly and Danny Stratton. Each will receive £62.50.
The draw was made at Turnbull Newsagents.