Rangers v Stenhousemuir at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow on 22.2.14
SPFL Division One Att 41,794
Rangers 3 [Law 35, Aird 67, Daly 72] Stenhousemuir 3 [Dickson 16, Higgins 57, 74 pen]
Although Scott Booth was appointed manager for the Warriors during the week he is unable to take up his duties until March so it was Brown Ferguson who continued in the caretaker role for this game.
‘Bomber’ mindful of the drubbing the last time the clubs met at Ibrox picked a more defensive side going for a 4-4-1-1 formation with Kevin McKinlay adding a stronger defensive steel to the midfield rather than the more attack minded Darren Smith.
Rangers as expected took the game to Stenhousemuir in the early stages and they forced their first corner in the first minute, There was a half chance for the visitors in the third minute when Sean Higgins just failed to get on the end of a Emilson Cribari header back to Cammy Bell. The main action was at the other end though and Cribari headed a Fraser Aird corner off the crossbar though Chris Smith may have got the faintest of touches. David Templeton then saw a strike just over the bar from 20 yards out as Rangers kept the pressure on.
In the 16th minute there was a shock when the Warriors opened the scoring in one of their rare forays upfield. Nicky Devlin crossing from the right wing to Sean Dickson who controlled the ball with his chest before tucking the ball past a helpless Cammy Bell.
There was a touch for luck in the 19th minute when Templeton went down in the box from a Sean Lynch challenge. It looked to be a penalty but to the consternation of the large majority of the crowd Templeton was cautioned for simulation. Of course that decision could have turned the game but given Chris Smith’s record of penalty saves it was definitely not a forgone conclusion that Rangers would have scored. Templeton had a golden chance to equalise in the 25th minute but he missed from six yards out with only the keeper to beat.
The crowd was getting on Rangers backs as they continued to miss chances but they equalised in the 35th minute. An Andy Little run was not picked up and he played the ball into Templeton who played a first time pass to Nicky Law who curled an effort past Chris Smith and into the net.
This gave Rangers a lift and they almost made it 2-0 shortly afterwards when Little crashed a shot off the crossbar. In the last minute of the half Seb Faure had to be stretchered off after a robust but fair Kevin McKinlay tackle.
The half time whistle blew though with the score level and gave the Warriors time to regroup.
Apart from the last meeting at Ibrox Stenhousemuir have started the second period with belief and have taken the game to their opponents. This game followed a similar pattern as they grew more confident whilst Rangers started to get frustrated. Ian Black was cautioned for the Ibrox men after complaining once too often about perceived injustices in the opening exchanges.
Bryan Hodge shot over after Rangers failed to clear their lines following a couple of corners in the 53rd minute as the Warriors showed that they were not going to sit back to try and defend all day. Stenhousemuir once again took the lead in the 57th minute when Sean Higgins headed a Sean Lynch cross into the net and on the balance of play it was a deserved lead.
Rangers looked to be running out of ideas as the game progressed but equalised through a lucky break when an Aird shot took a wicked deflection and landed in the net. Five minutes later Rangers were ahead when Jon Daly broke his shackles for the first time all day to head an Aird corner into the net. This was hard to take after all the work done and felt even worse as the award of the corner was disputed at the time.
To Stenhousemuir’s credit they didn’t collapse but tried to get back on level terms and Eddie Malone managed to wriggle past several players before his shot was deflected just wide.
In the 74th minute the referee awarded Stenhousemuir a penalty after Cribari failed to heed a warning from Mr Aitken and proceeded to pull David Rowson as he tried to get on the end of a corner. Sean Higgins stepped up and under immense pressure tucked the ball past the outstretched Bell to level the scores.
There were a couple of scares just after this when Little had a header tipped over and Chris Smith made a superb save to prevent a Stewart Greacen own goal. In the end though there was not too many incidents to alarm the Warriors faithful before the whistle blew on a 3-3 draw.
The Warriors deserve any plaudits that go their way for this performance but with the concentration of the media focused on the referee it is doubtful that they will get it.
Rangers – Bell, Faure [Foster 45], Cribari [b74], Aird, Wallace, McCulloch [b89], Little [Shiels 84], Black [b50], Daly, Templeton [b19] and Law. Subs – Simonsen, Crawford, Peralta, Smith and Telfer.
Stenhousemuir – C.Smith, Devlin, Malone, McMillan, Greacen, Hodge, McKinlay [D.Smith 75], Rowson, Lynch, Dickson [Watt 83] and Higgins [b74][Douglas 90]. Subs – Shaw, D.Smith, McNeil, Douglas, Watt, Brash and Nimmo.
Referee – Greg Aitken Assistants – Brian McGarry and Duncan Williams.
|February 22, 2014||3:00 pm||SPFL Ladbrokes League 1||2013/2014||90'|
|Ibrox Park, Glasgow|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|