Michael Beale has welcomed the novelty of Rangers hosting Partick Thistle in Sunday’s Scottish Cup fifth-round tie.
Rangers take a break this weekend from chasing Premiership leaders Celtic to take on the Jags, who sit in fourth place in the Championship.
Beale is relishing the variation to the norm as he looks to guide Rangers another step closer to retaining the trophy they won last season under former boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
“It is quite nice actually,” said Ranger boss Beale, who confirmed a start for striker Antonio Colak.
“Obviously you play the teams in the division, definitely three times, sometimes four, and if you draw them in the cup as well it becomes a bit of a Groundhog [Day] because obviously you know so much about each other and at times it can make for a stale game or a very stuffy game.
“It is nice to play a team that are not in our league but also knowing that they have nothing to lose coming to Ibrox this weekend.
“I am sure that’s what Ian McCall will be telling his team. They have a lot of Premiership experience in the team so I think it will be an interesting game.
“They are bringing 2,500 fans as well which shows you how many fans they have got.
“We have everything to gain as well, making sure that we pay justice to the importance that it has for us at Rangers.
“It is massively important. It is a competition we won last summer after a number of years and it is obviously one of the trophies we feel we can win this year.”
Colak has come off the bench in the last four games as he returned to full fitness following a leg injury.
Beale had previously hinted about the possibility of pairing the Croatia international with Colombia striker Alfredo Morelos but will leave that decision to later.
He said: “It is definitely an opportunity for Colak to play. I think he has waited frustrated on the sidelines to get an opportunity because Alfredo is in good form.
“In all fairness to Antonio he has not been 100 per cent fit in the time I have been here but he has had a really good 10 days of solid training and looks strong.
“So early team news is that Colak will play. Whether he plays with Morelos or not, we will decide nearer the time.”
Beale revealed John Lundstram, taken off early in the 2-1 win over Ross County last weekend, will miss the cup tie but, with a Scottish League Cup final against Celtic looming in just over two weeks’ time, he is happy with the prognosis on the midfielder’s ankle injury.
He said: “John won’t be available this weekend, we are hoping he will be back for the Livingston game so we had some good news on that one. He went to block a shot and rolled his ankle.
“At the time we thought that we wouldn’t take any risks with it because we had a particularly strong bench with Malik Tillman and Glen Kamara on it so hopefully he will be back in time for Livingston next week.
“He will definitely be fit for the cup final at the end of the month.”