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Rangers v Hearts – Lowry starts as Sakala leads the line, predicted XI

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Back to business for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his team with the small task of seeing off Hearts to win our first domestic cup since 2011 and first Scottish Cup since 2009, an appalling set of statistics that really needs to be put right.

There is no time for self pity or wallowing in Thursday night’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, there was no shortage of effort or desire and the players should use the feeling that they had when they walked off the pitch as motivation, in short, take it out on the capital outfit.

With a different approach likely to be taken, this is the team I’d go with as we look to repeat what the B team did at Tynecastle last weekend:

Jon McLaughlin has been the cup keeper so far so it would be a strange move to drop him, especially after his performance in the semi-final against Celtic and the defence will probably only see one change with Borna Barisic having limped off against Eintracht Frankfurt – I’d have advocated this move anyway to bring more height into our defence given Hearts physicality.

Ryan Jack only just made the Europa League final so I can’t see him starting again, especially with Steven Davis available, the front four is where we will see the hardest decisions though.

Kemar Roofe has barely trained and Joe Aribo ran himself into the ground on Wednesday night, if he plays another 90 minutes he will be doing very well.

Hearts tend to play with a back three and have quite a big defence, what they don’t have though is a lot of pace which is why I’d go with Fashion Sakala leading the line, he will also be fresher than other options we have, Aribo is needed for set-pieces which leaves the right-wing role – after starring at Tyencastle, Alex Lowry deserves to start, he will also have a big part to play next season and needs to be trusted.

If Gio decides to keep Aribo through the middle then I’d expect Aaron Ramsey to come in and play the number ten role, he and Lowry linked quite well last week and certainly have the guile to find gaps in what could be a congested defence.

Nothing can make up for the way that we lost in the Europa League final but having James Tavernier waving the Scottish Cup at us would certainly put a few ghosts to rest and set us up nicely for the summer, much like 2008, a season of what ifs, is nearly finished, let’s finish on a high.

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