NICKY CLARK grabbed a dramatic late winner for Rangers as they came from 3-1 down to beat Brechin 4-3 at sodden Glebe Park.
The Light Blues got off to an awful start and before they’d had time to settle they were 2-0 down before eventually pulling a goal back through Jon Daly.
Alan Trouten increased City’s lead once again and it wasn’t until after the break that Bilel Mohsni’s fifth of the season reduced the arrears again.
Nicky Law finally got the visitors back on level terms again with a cross which arced in at the back post.
The stage was then set for Clark to claim the glory and he did so five minutes from the end of the game with a deserved strike, his second of the season.
This was anything but pretty from the Ibrox outfit, who simply didn’t perform for large spells at first.
If this victory says anything about them though it’s that they have character and that will please manager Ally McCoist most.
McCoist made two changes to the side which won 2-0 at Ayr United last time out, both of them enforced because of injuries.
Lee Wallace didn’t travel after failing to recover from a knee injury which prevented him from facing Croatia with Scotland in midweek.
Arnold Peralta didn’t make it either, having arrived back at Murray Park yesterday unwell after he had helped Honduras qualify for the World Cup on Tuesday.
Stevie Smith and Robbie Crawford featured in their places in horrendous conditions at Glebe Park, which required a pre-match pitch inspection before being declared fit for play.
Gers arrived in Angus with a 100 per cent record in their eight league games so far, having scored 34 goals in that run and lost just two.
But as incessant rain lashed down, they lost another pair inside the opening 10 minutes as their opponents adapted to the weather far better.
Graham Hay grabbed the opener and it was a terrible goal for the visitors to lose in terms of how simple it was.
Trouten’s left-wing corner wasn’t tracked by anyone and Hay found himself in a central position just four yards out to head home without anyone marking him.
Moments later it was 2-0, with an innocuous free kick awarded to City and Jonathon Brown rifling it home.
It was a terrific effort from 20 yards which bulleted past the wall and left Cammy Bell with no chance of saving.
In turn, it left the Light Blues two goals down for the first time this season and they had a proverbial mountain to climb.
Daly tried to muster a response with a low stooping header but it was always running well wide.
Andy Little did hit the target soon after but his shot on the turn was well charged down as Brechin protected their advantage.
There were six bookings issued by referee Craig Charleston in the opening 20 minutes which didn’t bode well for both sides retaining a full complement of players.
But given some were issued for fouls made to look worse by the conditions than they might have normally, there was an argument in some cases common sense should have prevailed.
Nevertheless, the game remained full-blooded and Little came close again with a header which was only a yard past.
That was the prelude for the goal which brought Rangers back into the contest on 25 minutes, an eighth goal of the season from Daly.
It was a fine strike from the Irishman, who got ahead of Hay to touch it past him then slide coolly under Graeme Smith to reduce the arrears.
On the front foot for the first time, Lee McCulloch had a great chance to level when a loose ball fell to him after nobody made much of a right-wing cross.
But he put an awkward ball just past the post and that was to prove costly within seconds when City restored their two-goal lead.
Law was caught in possession on the edge of the area and Trouten placed a smart effort inside Bell’s far post to make it 3-1 at half-time.
It wasn’t a great surprise to see McCoist make a change at the interval after as poor a showing as we’ve seen from his men this term in the opening period.
Clark was introduced for Crawford and he moved into attack alongside Daly, with Little dropping into a deeper role on the right.
The former Queen of the South player made a good early impact, with his movement causing Brechin problems and bringing more urgency to the visiting front line.
Clark touched on Lewis Macleod’s through ball to set up Little but the keeper saved well before getting down again to smother Law’s follow-up attempt.
Smith could do nothing moments later though when Mohsni slid in to put Daly’s flick from Ian Black’s free kick over the line from close range.
At 3-2, it was game on again and away supporters tried to lift their team to an equaliser with well over half an hour still to play.
And on the 65-minute mark it came, albeit in somewhat fortuitous circumstances through midfielder Law.
Receiving a quick throw on the left, the Englishman bent a deep cross towards the back post looking for someone to get on the end of it.
But it eluded everyone including the keeper and crept in put Gers back on level terms since the opening moments of the contest.
The hosts nearly undid a hearty comeback when Bobby Barr got on the end of a deep cross-field ball and volleyed wide.
Substitute Craig Molloy came even closer when his header crashed back off the bar from Andy Jackson’s cross – and he was to rue that miss as Rangers then grabbed their winner.
Clark – having done so well since his introduction – was the man to get it, nodding in fellow replacement David Templeton’s cross to give his side victory, in which Trouten saw red for a second booking in injury time.
For all that the first half was poor from the League One leaders, the second saw them produce a stunning comeback and that perfect record remains intact.
BRECHIN: Smith, McLean, Brown, Hay, Moyes, McLauchlan, Trouten, Anderson (Molloy 76), A Jackson, Petrie, Ryan (Barr 69).
SUBS NOT USED: Nelson, Robb, S Jackson, Donnelly, Cameron.
SCORERS: Hay 5, Brown 10, Trouten 34.
BOOKED: Hay, Trouten, McLean, Anderson.
SENT OFF: Trouten.
RANGERS: Bell; Foster, McCulloch, Mohsni, Smith; Crawford (Clark 46), Black, Law, Macleod (Templeton 80); Little (Hutton 84), Daly.
SUBS NOT USED: Simonsen, Faure, Cribari, Aird.
SCORERS: Daly 25, Mohsni 53, Law 65, Clark 85.
BOOKED: Law, Smith, Black, McCulloch, Daly, Foster, Mohsni.
REFEREE: Craig Charleston.
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