Football Expert & Columnist
Andy Walker is backing Rangers and Hibs to win their Scottish Cup 4th round clashes
Andy Walker is backing Ally McCoist and Rangers to have a strong run in the Scottish Cup.
Last Updated: 26/11/12 4:16pm
After a traumatic period earlier this year that saw the Ibrox club move swiftly from administration to liquidation before being placed in the bottom tier of Scottish football, a significant victory was achieved off the park.
For the first time in months, Rangers fans had some good news when they learned last week that a tribunal ruled that EBT payments to staff and players over a 10-year period were legal.
The so-called Big Tax Case had been hanging over the club for years and a satisfactory outcome for all inside Ibrox was the best possible news.
However, one other enormous case remains on the horizon.
Early next year, an independent SPL commission consisting of a Law Lord and 2 QC's will rule on whether financial & contractual arrangements between the club and a host of players were properly registered.
Rangers fans are keeping a close eye on this one as the range of sanctions if found guilty could lead to stripping of a number of titles.
On the park, Ally McCoist's men are slowly becoming used to third division football. Three draws and a defeat in 11 league games against part-time opposition isn't what the supporters expected but they will surely have too much for the Elgin City part-timers.
Even allowing for the two-point gap between the two sides at the top of the table, Rangers have ambitions of going far in the tournament.
The league title will be won by a significant margin but in paying a lot of money to the likes of Ian Black & Dean Shiels, the domestic cups provide Ally McCoist with a genuine chance of showing the supporters that his team can compete against the top sides.
Home defeats against Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup and Inverness Caley Thistle in the League Cup were hard to take but I certainly wouldn't rule out a strong run in the Scottish Cup.
Hibs looking for revenge
Hibs were given a quick chance of revenge from their humiliating 5-1 cup final defeat against their bitter rivals when they were paired at home to Hearts.
Pat Fenlon has certainly managed to get a reaction from his players following that embarrassing cup-final defeat with his side sitting joint-second in the SPL table. Recent form has suggested a bit of a slump with defeats against both Dundee & Aberdeen but this is exactly the type of occasion that his players should be relishing.
Hibs owe their fans a performance against their great rivals and in Leigh Griffiths, they have the SPL's top scorer and a potential match-winner.
Like Rangers, Hearts have their own serious financial problems to contend with but will take great confidence from their marvellous recent record in this fixture.
My guess is that it will be a hugely competitive game with a replay at Tynecastle the most likely outcome.