FEB 5: SCOTTISH CUP TIPS

ALL eyes will be on Ibrox on Sunday to see how Rangers respond to their latest crisis.

Questions have been asked of owner Craig Whyte all week after it was revealed he had mortgaged of four years of fans’ season ticket money to the tune of nearly £25million.

Top scorer Nikica Jelavic then joined Everton on transfer deadline day for £6m with boss Ally McCoist unable to bring in a replacement.

So Rangers tackle the second half of the season adrift of Celtic in the title race and with Mervan Celik their only new arrival.

In my opinion the loss of Jelavic will serious dent their chances of four in a row but Ibrox supporters remain convinced they can still finish above Celtic.

For that to happen the likes of David Healy, Kyle Lafferty when he’s fit again, and Celik are going to have to come up with a load of goals.

Like after Jelavic starts with a William Hill Scottish Cup clash at home to Dundee United (12.15pm ko) and all the pressure will be on Coisty’s men.

People will point to the fact Rangers won the three SPL games this season that Jelavic missed, including last week’s 4-0 success against Hibs.

But this will be a huge test against the 2010 winners who drew on their last two cup visits to Ibrox and who on their day can compete with the Old Firm.

I don’t think Rangers are great value at a biggest 2-5 with Betfred and BetVictor so I’ll be looking at United on the handicaps.

Some people will risk them to win at a biggest 8-1 at BetVictor and Paddy Power but I’d keep the draw on side by going United plus one or United draw no bet at 6-1 with William Hill. Even with a two-goal start you can have the Arabs at 8-11 with Coral while they are 1-1 at Ladbrokes plus one.

Much of their hopes depend on skipper Jon Daly and fellow hitman Johnny Russell taking their chances. Both were linked with big-money moves away from Tannadice during the window and boss Peter Houston will be delighted they stayed.

Take a chance on Daly at 10-3 with William Hill to score while Russell is 7-2 at Ladbrokes.

Rangers will be looking for a big performance from Healy who is 7-2 at bet365 to net the opener while Aluko is 5-1 at bet365 or skipper Steven Davis at 11-1 with bet365.

I think there could be goals here and both teams to score pays 1-1 at Ladbrokes while over 2.5 is 8-11 at Ladbrokes.

The other Scottish Cup could also see the value in backing the away team.

Hearts, having kept most of their stars during the transfer window, welcome a St Johnstone side who have avoided defeat on five of their last five six visits to Tynecastle.

It’s difficult to back against Hearts at home but having held on to the likes of Fran Sandaza and Joey Morris I reckon Saints are worth a look at a best 10-3 at Coral. Again if that’s too risky then look at Saints plus one at 5-6 with boylesports.

Hearts are a biggest 10-11 with the likes of Paddy Power and Ladbrokes withe draw 13-5 at BetVictor.

Sandaza was close to moving to Rangers as Jelavic’s replacement but the move fell through and he’ll be out to show the champions they made a mistake. The former Dundee United man is 8-1 at Betfred to score first and 5-2 at Skybet to net at any time.

Rudi Skacel is another player who looked sure to switch clubs during the window but he’s signed on to stay at Hearts until the end of the season.

The Czech star is 7-1 with bet365 to open the scoring and 12-5 to net at any time.

Recommendations

Dundee Utd draw no bet

(6-1, William Hill)

Both teams to score at Rangers

(1-1, Ladbrokes)

St Johnstone plus one

(5-6, boylesports)

Sandaza to score

(5-2, Skybet)

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