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May 20, 2015 at 7.45pm UK
RangersRangers
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Hibernian
Clark (44'), Miller (63')
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Preview: Rangers vs. Hibernian

:Headline: Preview: Rangers vs. Hibernian:
Sports Mole looks ahead to the Scottish Championship playoff semi-final between Rangers and Hibernian at Ibrox Stadium.
By , Rugby Editor | 4y

Rangers and Hibernian meet at Ibrox Stadium on Wednesday for the first leg of their Scottish Championship playoff semi-final.

The Gers saw off Queen of the South over two legs in the last round, while Hibs have not played for over two weeks after finishing the regular season in second place.


Rangers

Fallen giants Rangers can take another step towards a return to the top flight of Scottish football on Wednesday following a dramatic campaign in the second tier.

Despite the usual circus behind the scenes at Ibrox Stadium, the Glasgow club managed to get through to the last four of the playoffs on the weekend as they saw off Queen of the South.

The Gers earned a 2-1 win away from home in the first leg of their quarter-final clash before a 1-1 draw on home turf was enough to see them progress.

Stuart McCall's side are currently on a seven-game unbeaten run, with three of those fixtures ending in wins for the Light Blues.

Indeed, McCall's return to the club back in February has rejuvenated the squad. Since the former midfielder replaced Kenny McDowall in the dugout, Rangers have lost just one out of 13 matches.

However, the Scot's reign in Glasgow has come under scrutiny in recent days, with outgoing Brentford boss Mark Warburton reportedly in line to take over. Whatever his future, McCall will be eager for his side to avoid defeat in the first leg against Hibs ahead of the second leg at Easter Road on Saturday.

Recent form: DWDDWD


Hibernian

Hibs make the trip to Glasgow with some doubts over their preparation after playing their last match over two weeks ago.

Alan Stubbs's men have been out of action since May 2 when they earned a comfortable 3-0 win away to Falkirk to clinch a second-placed finish in the table.

Hibernian endured an indifferent finish to the regular season, losing four of their last nine matches. However, three consecutive victories made sure that they pipped Rangers to the all-important runners-up spot.

The Edinburgh-based club have enjoyed a strong campaign from an offensive perspective, with 70 goals in their 36 matches so far putting them behind only runaway champions Hearts as the most potent attacking team in the division.

Hibs have also been solid in defence, conceding 32 times at an average of 0.89 per 90 minutes. They have also kept 13 clean sheets thanks largely to the form of on-loan goalkeeper Mark Oxley.

Despite finishing above Rangers in the standings, there will be less pressure on Hibernian than their opponents at Ibrox. However, Stubbs will fancy his team's chances of leaving Glasgow with a positive result before they head back to Easter Road.

Recent form: WWLWWW


Team News

McCall has no fresh injury concerns heading into the match and is likely to name a similar side to the one that drew with Queen of the South on the weekend.

Opposite number Stubbs will be without forward Martin Boyle, who is sidelined with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Jordon Forster and Farid El Alagui both remain doubtful.

Forster suffered ligament damage last month, while El Alagui is struggling with a knee problem.

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

Hibernian possible starting lineup:
Oxley; Forster, Hanlon, Fontaine; Boyle, Allan, Robertson, Craig, Stevenson; Cummings, Malonga


Head To Head

Hibernian have been dominant against Rangers this season, winning three of their four previous clashes. Two of those victories came at Ibrox, including a 3-1 triumph at the start of the campaign.

Rangers' only triumph over Hibs this term came at Easter Road back in March when they left the capital with a 2-0 win.

Overall, the Gers have beaten Hibernian a whopping 174 times while the opposition have recorded 52 victories. The two teams have also played out a total of 65 draws.


We say: Rangers 1-1 Hibernian

It is sure to be a closely-fought contest at Ibrox on Wednesday, with two factors expected to dictate the tempo of the game. While they are the home side, Rangers are likely to feel plenty of pressure from their own supporters with a return to the Scottish Premiership tantalisingly close. Meanwhile, a lack of action for Hibs could see the visitors adopting a cautious approach. With little to separate the teams during the regular season, it would not be a surprise if this one ends all square.


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool27261064174779
2Manchester CityMan City27183668293957
3Leicester CityLeicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs2711794436840
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2766153248-1624
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich CityNorwich2746172451-2718
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