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You are here: Home Match Match Reports 2013-14 Elgin City 0-1 Rangers
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 21:20

Elgin City 0-1 Rangers

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RANGERS rounded off their northern tour with another win as Fraser Aird’s good individual goal gave them a narrow victory at Elgin City.

In front of a decent crowd of 2,382, the Light Blues were always on top against a side which caused them problems in the Third Division last season.

They only had Aird’s second-period strike to show for their efforts by the final whistle and the visitors should really have won more convincingly.

But Ally McCoist will have been happy enough with the way his men went about their business ahead of their trip to Ashton Gate to play Bristol City at the weekend.

Poor decision making was often costly for the Ibrox team and with match sharpness such issues shouldn’t be such a problem.

The signs are certainly there that the squad is building a good understanding and that will please McCoist, who prowled up and down the touchline barking orders all night, most.

Just as he had done against Brora on Sunday, the manager fielded two teams either side of the break in order to give every player as much game time as possible.

Trialist defender Belil Mohsni – who has impressed against the Highland League side – was included in the first XI and he was rarely troubled as he gave another composed show.

Andy Mitchell and Sebastien Faure were also stripped having missed out at the weekend while Cammy Bell was fit despite jarring his knee in training yesterday.

The visitors were patient to begin with, taking their time to probe occasionally and gently settle into a rhythm.

Lewis Macleod had the first opportunity as he linked up well in the same way he had at Dudgeon Park with Nicky Law.

But just after receiving finely-weighted pass from the Englishman, teenager Macleod was well tackled just as he prepared to pull the trigger and won only a corner.

Lee McCulloch nearly put Rangers in front moments later in bizarre circumstances as the hosts’ trialist goalkeeper fired a clearance off his back.

After appearing to be spinning towards goal at first, however, the ball dropped wide and the home number one’s blushes were spared.

With this being a friendly, the same applied to Emilson Cribari at the other end as a short pass from Darren Cole saw him caught short and he pulled down Ross McKinnon.

In a competitive fixture, there’s no doubt the Brazilian would have seen red but he got away with a word in his ear from referee Martin Kerrigan instead.

Back came Gers and McCulloch had a crisp free kick 25 yards out pushed away low at the post before Law put a half volley over from close range.

The Light Blues were undoubtedly dictating play but they were fortunate not to fall behind following Elgin’s next attack.

When Paul Harkins took possession deep in midfield there was little danger but he slalomed he way past three men and shot narrowly wide across goal with a good attempt.

Rangers responded well again and at times their passing was slick, smooth and very easy on the eye.

Clark was again denied though and when McCulloch finally found space in the box for the first time in the contest, the keeper spread himself well to save superbly.

He was beaten when Macleod tried an audacious chip but the youngster’s effort unfortunately sailed just over while the same fate befell Clark with a curled free kick just before the break.

As planned, it was a new side which emerged for the second period but the game followed the same pattern, with the away side having most of the ball.

Andy Little nearly headed in from Robbie Crawford’s cross following an intelligent flick by Jon Daly and Aird hit the target but saw his drive held.

Crawford then did really well to chase down an opponent, win possession and try to lift the ball over the keeper but he did just enough to keep him out.

Seconds on, the midfielder had another go and this time he got too much height on his shot as it sailed over the bar and out of the ground.

There was certainly more tempo than there had been in the first 45 minutes and Aird’s mazy run ended with him teeing up Daly but the keeper did really well to block.

While that scurry upfield from the Canadian-born teenager wasn’t successful, his next one most certainly was on 63 minutes.

Once again Aird took up a position on the left and did well to dart in between two men with a dip of the shoulder before clipping a smart shot in off the inside of the near post.

It was a lead which Rangers richly deserved – and one which they nearly added to instantly as Kyle Hutton found Daly and his header ghosted inches past.

The Irish forward has so far shown himself to be an excellent aerial threat and he did really well to get on the end of Ian Black’s long ball but it was stopped on the line.

Daly and Little was both prevented from breaking their warm-up ducks in the closing stages as Gers pressed for a second.

It never came but enough had been done to win and this was another worthwhile workout in the new season preparations as thoughts now turn to England.

RANGERS FIRST HALF: Gallacher; Cole, Cribari, Mohsni, Smith; McAusland; Mitchell, Macleod, Law; McCulloch, Clark.

RANGERS SECOND HALF: Bell; Foster, Faure, Gasparotto, Wallace; Crawford, Hutton, Black, Aird; Daly, Little.

Copyright 2014. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.rangers.co.uk

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