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Rangers vs Elgin City (SFL 3rd) 05/01/2013 KO 15:00 GMT


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From Rangers official site:

Key Stars Return


RANGERS will virtually be at full strength as they seek to consolidate their healthy 17-point lead at the top of the Third Division when they face Elgin City tomorrow

And that will pose its own problems for boss Ally McCoist who may be forced to leave out some exciting younger players who have really stepped up to the plate in recent weeks.

Skipper Lee McCulloch has recovered from an ankle injury, Dean Shiels is fit again after a calf problem, Emilson Cribari has recovered from an ankle knock and Lewis Macleod has recovered from a stomach bug.

Kevin Kyle is still sidelined with a knee injury while the bad news about Darren Cole’s impending ankle surgery was revealed earlier today.

However, it’s as strong a pool McCoist has had to choose from for some time and he admitted:  “It’s difficult to pick a starting eleven because the young boys have come in and done well. They are realising there are opportunities and they are grabbing them.

“Barrie McKay has been doing well, Fraser Aird came on against Queen’s Park and scored and the two of them were on the bench against Annan.

“You ask any manager and he will tell you he wants competition for places.â€

Rangers will meet Elgin for the third time in just over a month having won 3-0 in the Scottish Cup on December 2 and then recording a 6-2 victory at Borough Briggs on December 22.

McCoist said: “It does seem we have played the Elgin boys a lot this season. They have dipped a bit since we played them up there losing to Annan and Peterhead.

“Having said that we took the lead twice up there and they equalised before we kicked on. They are a solid side and they have players up front who can hurt you.

“Our home results have been more than acceptable and we will be looking for that to continue in the New Year.

“The players have been fabulous and the best way to put it is they seem to know how to win games now. They seem to be handling the away games a lot better in terms of the intensity.

“We had a great month of December and we had a good victory at Annan the other day so we are in a good winning habit and that’s a great thing.â€

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I haven't managed to see a minute of this match, due to the clash with our game at Southampton. The game ended 1-1, bringing to an end Rangers' long run of successful league wins.Today would have been the twelfth, had they won. There's not a lot of news available as yet, nothing on the BBC, so here's a match report from goal.com:


Rangers 1-1 Elgin City: Late Leslie goal hands visitors a point



The Ibrox men fail to claim their 12th league victory in a row after Lewis McLeod put the home side ahead, but they remain well clear at the top of the Third Division

A late goal by Stuart Leslie helped Elgin City snatch a point at Ibrox and ended Rangers 100% home league record.

Lewis McLeod had the league leaders in a commanding position with his early strike, but they weren’t able to hang on and claim their 12th victory in a row.

Rangers made three changes to the side that won at Annan on Wednesday, with Darren Cole, Robbie Crawford and Francisco Sandaza all dropping out and being replaced by MacLeod, Emilson Cribari and skipper Lee McCulloch.

The visitors boss Ross Jack made two changes from the side that lost the derby fixture at home to Peterhead, with former Hearts duo Paul McMullan and Dennis Wyness being dropped to the bench in place of Graeme Beveridge and Paul Harkins.

The league leaders continued their march towards the title, getting off to an early start as MacLeod raced into the Elgin box after McCulloch had won the ball on the edge of the area and the midfielder slotted the ball past Joe Malin in the visitors goal.

However Elgin almost got back on level terms within a minute of the opener, as Daniel Moore made a run forward from just inside the Rangers half and eventually forced a strike towards goal, which Neil Alexander had to do well to force away.

Rangers continued to push forward, looking to add to their advantage with both Andy Little and Ian Black having efforts at goal, but neither of the Ibrox men could find a way past the Elgin defence to double the lead.

The visitors finished the first half a man down as Harkins was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Black.

The Ibrox side started the second half with real intent, as Little, Chris Hegarty and then David Templeton all tried their luck with strikes towards goal, but once again the league leaders failed to add to their lead.

Ally McCoist decided to liven things up with the game becoming dire, with Barrie McKay coming on in place of MacLeod and immediately he lit up Ibrox as he went beyond three Elgin defender before striking straight at the legs of Malin.

The victory should have been secured for the league leaders as firstly Little got onto the end of a cross from Templeton but his header was somehow kept out of goal by the Elgin keeper Malin.

A minute later it was a pair of substitutes that linked up for Rangers, as McKay crossed from the right for Dean Shiels, but the Northern Ireland international put his volley well over Malin’s bar.

The changes continue to fly towards the Elgin goal, with Templeton picking the ball up at the edge of the area and letting fly, but a visiting defender got in the way to deflect the ball wide.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Alexander who had been largely unemployed in the Rangers goal failed to hold on to a Leslie header after a free kick from the right to snatch a point for the visitors.



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