Friday 1st January 2016

SONS face Rangers FC as first foots at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium this weekend as the second half of the Ladbrokes SPFL Championship season continues.

Boss Stevie Aitken is looking for a positive reaction to the start of the New Year, but is under no illusions about how tough the task is.

He commented: “We’ve played reasonably well against Rangers in the previous two games against them this season.

“But any mistakes we make are severely punished so we will be trying to cut out any errors.

“It’s a big game and with a cracking atmosphere expected, everyone at the club is looking forward to the game.

“On behalf of the players and my staff, I’d like to wish all our fans a Happy New Year when it comes. The support that Faz and I have had since we joined in the summer has been great and really appreciated.”

Dumbarton go into the New Year derby on 18 points and sit seventh in the Ladbrokes Championship.

League leaders Rangers secured a vital 4-2 win against title rivals Hibs last Monday and have a three point advantage in the race for automatic promotion over the Easter Road club and second placed Falkirk.

In their last meeting, Sons lost 4-0 to Rangers at Ibrox in December in a game which saw defender Steven Saunders sent off.

Prior to that, a Garry Fleming penalty wasn’t enough to overcome the Govan club in their 2-1 win at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium in September.

Craig Charleston is the man in charge of this weekend’s game. Mr Charleston has refereed two Sons games already this season, once at Cappielow in July 2015 when we won 3-2 in a league cup tie and again at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium in September where Alloa Ath recorded a 2-0 victory.

In 15 games, Charleston has issued 57 yellow cards and sent three players off.

There will be a minutes silence observed before kick-off, marking the anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster ion 2nd January 1971, when 66 people lost their lives.

A few niggling injuries accumulated over the last few weeks could restrict manager Aitken’s choices for tomorrow’s game. Captain Darren Barr (pictured) has a knock that is troublesome but is expected to be fit.

The skipper faces a 1-game SPFL ban following his 6th booking against the Bairns last week, and will miss the QoS game on 16th January.

Defender Steven Saunders has not shaken off the calf problem that occurred at the Falkirk Stadium and will sit out the game.

Alan Findlay & Simon Barrow

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