This weekend Rangers play Hibernian in the Scottish Cup Final with a Europa League place at stake for the winners. It will be the first Cup Final to be staged without a team from the Scottish top flight, but Rangers will be there next season having just won the First Division championship.
Hibs wanted to join them but lost a heart-breaking play off 3-2 at Falkirk, to lose 5-4 on aggregate. It guarantees that the cup will be won by a club outside the top flight for the first time since East Fife won it in 1938.
As well as the Championship, Rangers also won the Petrofac Training Cup (the cup for teams outside the Premier League) so the Scottish Cup would clinch a treble in manager Mark Warburton’s first season in charge.
Rangers will have the majority of the support at Hampden Park for what will be their 52nd Cup Final appearance, and they will be hoping for their 34th victory, their last one coming in 2009. On the other hand Hibs have to overcome a Cup Final curse, not having won the trophy since 1902, failing in ten finals since then, the last one being in 2013. They will also be trying to avoid an unwanted double, having lost the League Cup Final to Ross County.
Here at ComeOn! HQ, we take you through all the action and give you the run down on where the betting value will lie this weekend.
What next for Rangers?
It must be a bright future for the ‘Gers, having returned to the Premier League after a four year absence since the club was liquidated in 2012. Three promotions in four years followed and they will be keen to resume the Old Firm clashes with Celtic, who have had no real opposition at the top of the Scottish game. As a warm up, Rangers defeated Celtic on penalties in the Cup semi-final. If they can add European football to their portfolio for next season they really will be back in the big time.
Manager Alan Stubbs has a big job to lift the mood in the Hibs camp after their last minute play off defeat to Falkirk and also put any thoughts of the ‘cup final curse’ out of the minds of the players. They beat Rangers 3-2 in the league last month so there is no reason why they can’t repeat the feat at Hampden Park this weekend.
Rangers – Rangers have a fully fit squad to choose from and are full of goals with four players in double figures. Former Wigan Athletic striker Martin Waghorn needs two more to reach 30 for the campaign in just 36 appearances with the evergreen Kenny Miller on 20 followed by James Tavernier (15) and highly rated midfielder Jason Holt (12).
Hibs – Influential playmaker Dylan McGeouch is hoping to be fit despite being forced to leave the field at half time with a groin problem during their play-off defeat at Falkirk. The remainder of the squad are all fit including talented top scorer Jason Cummings, who has 25 goals to his name this season.
Where does the betting value lie?
With the momentum gained from their impressive semi final FA Cup win over rivals Celtic last month, we feel the value will lie with backing favourites Rangers this weekend and against a Hibs side running low on confidence following their Scottish Premiership play-off defeat to Raith recently, we are backing Warburton’s side to run out comfortable 3-0 winners on Saturday afternoon.