Goram anxious to make amends

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The Independent Online
Andy Goram is ready to return to action today - to face the team who left him red-faced and embarrassed in October. Ken Gaunt reports.

Andy Goram's dreadful blunder in the 2-1 Bell's Scottish League victory over Rangers by Dundee United that day has been widely shown on television over Christmas as one of football's classic comic cuts.

It was a rare mistake by the Scottish international goalkeeper and a rare defeat for Rangers - in fact, their only one in the League this season.

Tommy McLean's team also knocked them out of the Coca-Cola Cup, a feat that will bring added spice to the game at Ibrox today. Rangers go into the match looking to improve their position at the top of the table following the thumping 5-2 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle Park last weekend.

Goram seems set to replace Theo Snelders between the posts after recovering from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss last week's game.

Gordon Durie, who scored a hat-trick against Hearts, is one of three players out of today's match because of suspension. Rino Gattuso is banned after being sent off last week, while Paul Gascoigne completes his enforced four-match absence. The Rangers captain, Richard Gough, is still struggling with a hamstring injury, but the midfielder Jonas Thern is set to return after going home to Sweden briefly because of a family illness.

For Dundee United, the striker Andy McLaren is struggling with a back injury, but Siggi Jonsson is recovering well from a groin problem. Craig Easton could return to the starting line-up after being on the bench last week.

Hearts are anxious to return to winning ways against Dunfermline at East End Park after back-to-back defeats at the hands of Rangers and Celtic. They are now two points adrift after leading the table for months, and need a victory today to keep up the heat on the Old Firm. The Austrian striker Thomas Flogel is pressing for a recall to their side, while Neil McCann picked up a calf injury last week and is doubtful.

Celtic, who go to St Johnstone, will be without their top scorer Henrik Larsson, who has a hamstring injury, picked up in training this week. Marc Rieper and Stephane Mahe are still ruled out with muscle strains.

The Republic of Ireland defender Alan Kernaghan is to stay with St Johnstone until the end of the season. The Saints' manager, Paul Sturrock, was anxious to secure the Manchester City player's services on a long-term basis after he completed a three-month loan spell last weekend in the 2-1 defeat to Dundee United.

St Johnstone will be without their new Swedish striker Thomas Andersson today. He has been ruled out by a stomach complaint.

The Hibernian defender Shaun Dennis, who has been absent with a knee ligament injury, returns to the squad to face Kilmarnock at Easter Road. The Hibs' manager, Jim Duffy, may make the former Raith Rovers man settle for a place on the bench, however.

Kilmarnock may be without two key players - the former Scotland winger Pat Nevin, who has a hamstring injury, and Jim Lauchlan (broken nose).

In the other Premier Division game, Aberdeen entertain Motherwell.

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