In the draw for the quarter-final stage of this season's Scottish Cup Rangers, or Kilmarnock, were drawn a home tie facing either Dundee, or Dumbarton. At first glance this draw could appear to be one that all Rangers supporters would have preferred, but that would all depend on who is successful in the replays.
Dumbarton have visited Ibrox once already this season, losing 4-0 in the process. Rangers have also won twice away from home at The Bet Butler Stadium, including a mightily impressive 6-0 walloping. Presumably all Rangers fans will be hoping Dumbarton can sneak a victory when they visit Dens Park next Tuesday evening, setting up what would appear to be a fantastic opportunity to reach the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup for the first time since the 2013/14 season. Dundee did not enjoy the easiest of games in Dumbarton but after the match manager Paul Hartley appeared confident of a victory on home turf.
Assessing Rangers' chances against Dundee is a far trickier task. The last time the two sides met in a competitive fixture was way back in September 2009 at the quarter-final stage of the League Cup. Rangers ran out 3-1 winners on that occasion, going on to win the tournament that season. However, a lot has changed at both clubs in the past five years or so.
Based on Rangers defensive weaknesses this season, it would be fair to say Rangers supporters could be concerned by the somewhat familiar Dundee strike force. Ex-Gers, Kane Hemmings and Rory Loy, have both been in the goals this season, with 32 goals between them in all competitions thus far. Dundee usually line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Hemmings regularly supplied by Loy, Greg Stewart and the experienced Gary Harkins. As a reward for his recent sparkling form Hemmings was named as the SPFL Premiership Player of the Month for January and would presumably be keen to do serious damage against his former employers.
However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. The trip to Rugby Park will present a huge challenge to the Rangers. Kilmarnock defended with great discipline on Saturday, successfully clogging up the central area of the pitch, knowing Rangers would pose less of a threat with aerial crosses from wide areas. In attack too Kilmarnock could pose a greater challenge if Josh Magennis was provided better aerial service from the likes of Tope Obadeyi. Obdeyi kept James Tavernier quiet for 60/70 minutes at Ibrox with his dangerous pace, but his crossing left a lot to be desired.
Let's not forget the advantage lies with the home side when you consider that there is an artificial surface installed at Rugby Park. Hopefully Rangers will be granted permission to train on the pitch before the game and allow the players to get a feel for it, but this is not a given. One year ago Celtic were denied such a request to train on the newly installed surface prior to a game.
It's safe to assume Mark Warburton won't be looking any further ahead than the replay in Kilmarnock, but you could imagine he would be fairly pleased with the draw.
Written by The Magic Hatter