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Saturday, 20 October 2012 16:45

Rangers 2-0 Queen's Park

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RANGERS returned to winning ways in the Third Division with a hard fought 2-0 victory over Queen’s Park in front of 49,463 fans, a new world record crowd for a fourth tier match, at Ibrox.

Lee McCulloch’s strikes on 56 and 89 minutes separated the sides and few would argue that the home team deserved the victory.

Credit must go to Dean Shiels for laying the first goal on a plate for his skipper and to substitute Barrie McKay as it was his terrific chipped shot from distance which clattered off the crossbar before Jig bagged his brace from the rebound.

Kyle Hutton returned to the Gers starting eleven for kick off with Anestis Argyriou dropping to the bench alongside Andy Little who looked lively after he replaced Fraser Aird two minutes before the opening goal was scored.

Hutton saw a lot of the ball in the early stages and the Light Blues started the game positively, attacking with intent while also trying to keep it tight at the back.

The first-half, however, was largely frustrating with Queen’s working hard to nullify the threat from Aird on the left while packing the defence and midfield.

On four minutes, however, Black’s pinpoint pass found its way through to McCulloch on the edge of the box and when he fed the ball to Shiels his first time effort was straight at Spiders’ keeper Neil Parry.

Five minutes later and McCulloch turned on the edge of the 18 yards out but his low, left foot drive was again saved by the visiting goalie who dived to his right.

After a decent start Queen’s gradually edged their way into the game and on 27 minutes their lively number 11 Andrew Robertson did well to beat Sebastien Faure but there were no takers for his cross.

Michael Keenan kept the ball in play and when his clever pass inside found right back Paul Gallacher bursting forward his cross was nervously booted clear by the Frenchman.

At the other end a wicked corner kick delivery from Aird narrowly missed McCulloch’s outstretched boot and Cribari could only find the side netting with his header from a tight angle at the back post.

But with two minutes remaining the best chance of the first half then fell to Shiels.

The Ulsterman found space in the 18-yard box but his left foot shot across Parry’s goal was brilliantly saved by the Queen’s keeper and the scoreline at the break was goalless.

The Rangers players cut dejected figures as they walked up the tunnel and Black and McCulloch, in particular, were having a few harsh words to each other.

As they reappeared for the second half they hugged in the centre circle and the game restarted with both teams desperate for a goal.

A corner for Queen’s on 47 minutes resulted in Jamie Longworth heading over from six yards and the striker knew it was a great opportunity missed.

McCoist then made his first change with Little going on and within 60 seconds the substitute had a chance but his effort from 10 yards was brilliant blocked by defender James Brough.

But in the next attack the opening goal arrived and Shiels was the architect.

He did brilliantly to beat his man on the byline and his teasing cut back left McCulloch with the easiest of tasks and he slotted the ball into the empty net from four yards.

The relief around the packed stadium was palpable but after taking the lead the Rangers defence fell asleep on 62 minutes and when Keenan played a great pass in behind the Gers backline to Robertson the winger was through on goal but his weak effort was saved by Alexander.

In the last half hour Lewis Macleod came close to doubling his side's advantage with a curling left foot effort from 25 yards and with just second remaining Barrie McKay's brilliant effort from long range came off the underside of the cross bar and McCulloch was there to score his 13th goal of the campaign and take his side to the top of SFL3. 

RANGERS (4-3-3): Alexander; Faure, Emilson, Perry, Wallace; Hutton, Black., Macleod; Shiels (McKay 82), McCulloch, Aird (Little 54)
Subs: Gallacher, Argyriou, Kyle
Bookings: Little, Faure, Black

QUEEN'S PARK(4-4-2): Parry; Gallacher, Little, Brough, Bradley; Shankland, Anderson, Capuano (Smith 84), Roberston (Watt 74); Keenan (Quinn 79), Longworth
Subs: Lochhead, Burns
Bookings: Anderson

REF: John Beaton

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