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May 9, 2015 at 5.30pm UK
QotSQueen of the South
1-2
RangersRangers
Lyle (64')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Smith (44'), Shiels (75')
/esi/1339/6_G_1_42288/index.html?art_id=221499&game_id=42288&sport_id=1&ESI

Preview: Queen of the South vs. Rangers

:Headline: Preview: Queen of the South vs. Rangers:
Sports Mole previews the first leg of the Scottish Championship quarter-final between Queen of the South and Rangers.
By , Reporter | 4y

Rangers' hunt for a third straight promotion continues this weekend when they travel to Queen of the South in the first leg of their Scottish Championship playoff quarter-final.

The winner of this two-legged meeting will go on to face Hibernian for a chance to secure promotion to Scotland's top flight.



Queen of the South

James Fowler's side will come into the match off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Livingston in their final game of the season, having gone into the tie knowing that they were already guaranteed a fourth-place finish.

The Dumfries-based club had been in strong form before that defeat, winning four of their previous five, which included a convincing 3-0 win over this weekend's opponents.

This is the second year in a row that Queens have reached the playoffs, doing so last year in their first season in the second tier following promotion the campaign before, but they were knocked out by Falkirk at this stage.

This weekend's home side's success has been built around strong defence, with the team keeping 14 clean sheets in the Championship this season, just two fewer than champions Hearts, who are the only side with more.

Queens have not been as potent in front of goal as this weekend's opponents, scoring 58 goals in the league, 11 fewer than Rangers.

Should the home side go on to win the tie, they will have a chance to jump back into the top tier for the first time since the 1963-64 season.

Recent form: WWWDWL



Rangers


Having won promotion in their last two season, Rangers will be hoping that their playoff tie against Queens is a stepping stone back into the Scottish Premiership after a three-season absence.

The Gers were dealt a blow on the final day of the season, with Hibs narrowly beating them to second place, which gives the Edinburgh side a pass straight to the semi-final, where they will face the winner of this matchup.

Rangers have been draw specialists in the last month, sharing the points in three of their final four outings of the season, including last weekend against Hearts, when the Glasgow side let a two-goal lead slip inside the final 10 minutes.

Rangers' only defeat in their last 15 matches in the league came against this weekend's opponents, when they lost 3-0 just last month.

Stuart McCall will be hoping that his side can continue their strong run in front of goal this season, with his side having scored 69 times, averaging almost two goals per match - only Hibs and Hearts have netted more regularly.

Off-the-pitch concerns continue to make the headlines in the build-up to this match, with a previous takeover at the club resulting in Sports Direct's offices being searched by police this week, but Rangers have often managed to put such distractions to one side during this campaign.

Recent form: LWDWDD



Team News


Rangers have made a host of changes at the back in recent weeks as a result of injuries, but Richard Foster returned for last weekend's draw with Hearts, so the visitors should have their first-choice back four available.

Lee McCulloch missed out last time, so could return well rested for the Gers, who have reported no fresh injury problems ahead of this match.

For the hosts, they will be hoping that defender Andy Dowie, who penned a one-year contract extension earlier this week, is ready to go after managing just 45 minutes against Livingston on the final day of the season.

The team's top scorer Derek Lyle went off after less than an hour, so the hosts will be hoping that he is well rested and ready to add to his 19-goal haul from this campaign.

Queen of the South possible starting lineup:
Clark, Dowie, Durnan, Hooper, Higgins, Paton, Kidd, Millar, McShane, Russell, Lyle

Rangers possible starting lineup:
Bell, Foster, McGregor, Zaliukas, Wallace, Shiels, McCulloch, Murdoch, Law, Vuckic, Miller, Clark



Head To Head

In the four meetings between the two sides in the Championship this season, Rangers have won just once, while Queens have beaten their opponents both times at home.

Their last meeting was less than a month ago, with this weekend's hosts wrapping up a convincing 3-0 win at Palmerston Park.

Prior to this season, Rangers had never been beaten by Queen of the South, winning four of the eight matches between these two sides.



We say: Queen of the South 2-2 Rangers

Queen of the South have proved to be a tough opponent for Rangers this year, and with McCall's side having been so comfortably beaten just a few weeks ago, the home side will expect to come away with something. Last time they met though, Rangers' playoff place was already assured, so the visitors will have more to play for this time around.


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2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
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12Southampton27104133448-1434
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15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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