There can’t have been too many Old Firm matches in living memory that one set of fans has approached with such trepidation. Or, rather, with such a lack of faith in their players to get a result.

But this is where Rangers find themselves ahead of the Scottish Cup final against Celtic at Hampden on Saturday, with issues ranging from ill-judged social media posts to injury woes – particularly in the backline – eroding whatever little confidence they still retained in this squad to get one over their city rivals when it really matters.

The league is gone, and soon, many of these Rangers players will be gone too. But can they first see out this season on a high by lifting the famous old trophy and give their fans at least a crumb of comfort heading into next season?

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Well, of course they can. It is a one-off game, and Rangers still have enough quality in their ranks to pose problems for Celtic. Much will hinge however on Philippe Clement’s team selection.

At the back, as touched upon, he may have little choice. And that may impact what he can do in the midfield area, as Dujon Sterling may have to step back in there again to deputise for either Ben Davies or John Souttar.

Clement will be hoping that isn’t required, as he will surely now recognise that Rangers’ best chance of success is to choose a midfield that can at least get close to Celtic’s brilliant trio of captain Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate.

McGregor and O’Riley in particular had a field day against Rangers in the recent win at Celtic Park, and that was before John Lundstram had his (second) rush of blood to the head and was sent off for his wild challenge on Alistair Johnston.

It would be a shame for that incident to come to be the defining memory of Lundstram’s time at Ibrox, but it also neatly exemplified why he shouldn’t start the game at Hampden. He was off the pace from the start, was unable to exert any influence on his direct opponent, and his frustration eventually bubbled over.

Clement has shown himself to be a very decent manager over the piece since his arrival in Glasgow, but his refusal to give any concession to Celtic by formulating a plan to stop McGregor running the game last time out was a huge mistake.

Celtic currently have better players, and for all their faults, the final league table spells out in black and white that they are the better team. So, in such circumstances, it would be a dereliction of duty and hubristic to ignore that fact.

Common sense would dictate then that Sterling has to play in the centre of the pitch, if at all possible, and be tasked with at least laying a glove on McGregor to stymie his influence.

Mohamed Diomande didn’t have the best of games at Celtic Park either, but he has shown more than enough since his arrival to retain his place in the middle alongside Sterling, while Nico Raskin – who Clement has yet to be seen to really fancy – would be my pick to make up a combative and energetic trio.

That may still not be enough for Rangers given that they come into this test short on key personnel and even shorter on confidence, but in theory, it could at least provide a platform for the likes of Todd Cantwell, Fabio Silva or Abdallah Sima to affect the game further up the pitch.

Whether the first two names on that list have it in them to do so in such a fixture remains to be seen, but Rangers simply have to try to nullify the influence of the Celtic midfield to give themselves a foothold in the contest, and then try to get the ball to their creative players with more regularity.

It perhaps says a lot about what Clement feels about his midfield options that he chose to all-but bypass that area in the game at Celtic Park, but if Rangers can find a way to have some more controlled possession, that should alleviate the pressure at least a little on what is sure to be a makeshift defence.

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With Lundstram in the team last time out, control was lacking for Rangers between the boxes and, sadly, between his ears. After a resurgence in form immediately following Clement’s arrival, Lundstram’s performance levels have regressed to the lower standard he was exhibiting in the early part of the season under Michael Beale.

Has his contract situation and the uncertainty over his future affected his focus? Only he could say, but what he showed at Celtic Park was an inability to control such a game, and to control his emotions.

Rangers need energy, focus and discipline from their midfield at Hampden, and these are qualities that Sterling, Diomande and Raskin would bring to the table. Sadly, it seems that on recent evidence - fine servant to Rangers as he has been - the same cannot currently be said for Lundstram.