Ayr United vs. Rangers
William Hill Scottish Cup – Fifth Round
Saturday 11th February 2018. Kick-off 2.30pm
On Sunday, Ayr United will look to put recent travails at Somerset Park to one side when Rangers visit in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Ian McCall’s free-scoring side have lost their last three league matches at home but will be hoping to cause a cup upset in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
United have reached this stage of the competition scoring 10 goals in two games, beating Aberdeen-based Juniors Banks O’Dee 6-2 away from home in round three before a 4-1 win over Arbroath at Somerset Park last month.
Rangers were in action on Tuesday night when they made the short trip to Firhill to face Partick Thistle. Goals either side of half-time from Josh Windass, his tenth goal of the season, and James Tavernier saw Graeme Murty’s side move within three points of second placed Aberdeen in the Premiership table and stretch ahead of Hibernian, who defeated the Gers at Ibrox last Saturday.
Bellslea Park in Fraserburgh was the starting point for Rangers’ Scottish Cup campaign this season, where they comfortably saw off Highland League opponents in their delayed fourth round tie courtesy of a Josh Windass hat-trick. The Ibrox side have won the Scottish Cup on 33 occasions but haven’t lifted the famous trophy since 2009.
Team News: Steven Bell is cup tied. Mark Kerr, Chris Higgins, Robbie Crawford and Ross Docherty miss out with injuries. Paddy Boyle and Andy Geggan are very doubtful.
Ian says: ” Its a great occasion at Somerset Park and the second time we have been live on television this season so the game is absolutely there to be enjoyed. I would have loved to go into the game with a full squad however we will still have plenty of threats out there and all the boys will be giving their all. It is a fantastic opportunity for everyone at the club on a big stage. Our home form has been way short of what we would expect so this gives us a chance to put in a big performance and get back on track. We are under no illusions about how difficult it will be, Graeme Murty has made big improvements to Rangers and they are in good form.”
Head to head (at Somerset Park):
Ayr United wins –11
Draws – 10
Rangers wins – 30
There have been five meetings between the sides in the Scottish Cup, including two semi-finals played at Hampden Park, but United’s only Scottish Cup win over Rangers came back in 1923, 2-0 at Somerset Park. The Honest Men have never faced Rangers in a Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox, but did play two replays against Airdrieonians there in 1924.
Nicky Clark and Barrie McKay scored in a 2-0 victory for the Gers at Somerset Park on their last visit to Ayr and the last time the sides faced each other. The Ibrox side went on to win the League Challenge Cup, beating Peterhead 4-0 in the final.
The last Scottish Cup tie between Ayr and Rangers was in February 2003 saw United holding out until Ronald De Boer scored what proved to be the only goal of the game in the 79th minute.
Referee – Nick Walsh
Assistant Referee 1 – Graham Chambers
Assistant Referee 2 – Ralph Gordon
Fourth Official – David Munro
ADMISSION – Adults £20, Concessions £12. 200 tickets remaining.