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Rangers vs Stirling Albion (SFL 3rd) 23/03/2013 KO 12:00 GMT


Lofty.

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Today, weather permitting, Rangers take on Stirling Albion who are themselves currently seventh in the table, following a run of form that has seen them lose only one of their last nine league games. Rangers won the previous encounter with Stirling at Ibrox 2-0 with goals from Andy Little and David Templeton.

 

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Elsewhere, RANGERS’ potential title party has been put on ice by the Arctic conditions as Queen’s Park’s match at Annan has been called off.

 

Team news:

 

KANE HEMMINGS has been handed his first competitive start and given the chance of shooting Rangers tantalisingly close to the SFL 3 title.

The young Englishman is in the main striking role for today’s Noon clash with Stirling Albion.

Spaniard Francisco Sandaza is under a club suspension pending an inquiry into a prank phone conversation he was involved in while top scorer Andy Little is with Northern Ireland on international duty.

With resources stretched due to injuries, Lee McCulloch continues at centre back which means Hemmings is the natural choice for the central striking position.

The former Tamworth forward has appeared just once as a substitute this season – in the 3-1 win over East Stirlingshire on March 2.

However, he spent a highly successful loan period with Cowdenbeath in SFL 1 in which he scored four times for Colin Cameron’s side.

Boss Ally McCoist had indicated that he would use Hemmings between now and the end of the season but circumstances have forced him to bring him in slightly earlier than planned.

It’s a very young looking Rangers side – especially middle to front – with Fraser Aird and Barrie McKay in the wide areas.

Ian Black sits out as a result of his red card at Elgin last week but Kyle Hutton is back from his suspension and plays beside Robbie Crawford in midfield.

Andy Murdoch, who captained the under-17s to Glasgow Cup success last season, is on the bench.

So the team is lining up in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

RANGERS: Alexander; Hegarty, McCulloch, Cribari, Wallace; Faure; McKay, Crawford, Hutton, Aird; Hemmings.

Subs: Gallacher, Argyriou, Murdoch, Naismith, Mitchell.

 

 

 

 

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A disappointing result that could have been worse. Rangers will win the title, of that there is virtually no doubt, but will have to wait a little longer to do so. Rangers fans booing at the end of the first half and at the final whistle was also disappointing, if understandable, given the youth and inexperience of the Rangers team. With so many injuries, the squad is stretched to breaking point. As was pointed out earlier, this was possibly the youngest front five ever to start for Rangers.

 

Rangers 0-0 Stirling Albion

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RANGERS will have to rely on Queen’s Park slipping up against Elgin to have a chance of winning the title next Saturday after they could only draw with Stirling today.

The Light Blues had a lot of the ball against Albion on a bitterly cold day at Ibrox but lacked the penetration required to break them down and the game finished goalless.

That means Gers have won only one of their four meetings with the Binos this season and this game was as hard at times to endure as the other two in which points were dropped.

Ally McCoist’s men had gone into this weekend hoping this afternoon might see them land the Third Division crown at last.

But the postponement of Queens’ trip to Annan this morning because of snow put paid to that possibility.

Now there is the chance of becoming champions in seven days if victory can be achieved against Montrose at Links Park.

But that’s only if the Spiders don’t beat City and if they do, the Hampden side can still finish top if it overturns a currently vastly inferior goal difference.

It’s an unlikely scenario, of course, but three points for Gardner Speirs’ team against the Moray outfit will take the issue into April.

Manager McCoist was without eight players in total for this fixture after Fran Sandaza was suspended by the club yesterday.

Frustratingly, one of the others was leading scorer Andy Little, who found himself stranded in Belfast without a game after Northern Ireland’s match with Russia was postponed.

With so many bodies missing, McCoist selected one of the youngest Light Blues sides in living memory and particularly in midfield and attack.

With Kane Hemmings leading the line and Robbie Crawford, Fraser Aird, Barrie McKay, Seb Faure and Kyle Hutton behind him, those six had an average age of just 20.

Nevertheless, the hosts made a bright enough start as Lee Wallace forced a decent save from Sam Filler and Lee McCulloch’s dinked shot on the turn from a corner crept just wide.

Hemmings also headed a yard over after doing well initially to feed the ball to McKay on the right wing.

The English forward did well in a recent loan spell at Cowdenbeath recently, scoring four goals in as many First Division games at one point.

But he hasn’t played much since and that perhaps explained why he pulled a left-footed effort across goal and past the post with his next opportunity.

There weren’t many chances in a tame opening period but perhaps the best ones went Albion’s way just before the break.

Thankfully for the hosts, Aird was on hand to head Jordan White’s header away from under the crossbar when it seemed as though his attempt was going in.

Scott Davidson also fired over the upright when he had only Neil Alexander to beat from 12 yards at the back post.

Understandably, home fans got restless as Rangers struggled to get a grip of the game and failed to dictate the way they should have been capable of doing.

McCoist kept faith with his first XI for the start of the second half and Aird did well to cut inside past two men before seeing his low drive turned behind by Filler.

But that was the highlight of a turgid opening passage after the restart and it wasn’t until Kal Naismith’s introduction for McKay just after the hour that the tempo lifted again.

Suddenly Gers had some urgency again as Crawford’s half volley wasn’t far off target and his cut back to Hemmings was poked inches wide.

Wallace’s shot from distance was on target but lacked power while Hemmings didn’t get the connection he had hoped for as he met Chris Hegarty’s cross.

With that, the pace of the game dropped again and although the Light Blues were never in any great danger of losing, they didn’t look like netting themselves either.

The return of those who were missing – particularly the likes of Little – can’t come quickly enough as Gers look for a cutting edge that gets them going forward once more.

RANGERS: Alexander; Hegarty, McCulloch, Cribari, Wallace; Faure; McKay (Naismith 61), Crawford, Hutton, Aird (Argyriou 77); Hemmings (Mitchell 90).

SUBS: Gallacher, Murdoch.

BOOKED: McCulloch.

STIRLING: Filler; McCunnie, Thom, Bishop, Forsyth; Johnston (Cunningham 90), McClune, Ferry, Davidson (Weir 64), Flood (Ashe 77); White.

SUBS: Crawford, Day.

BOOKED: Davidson, Thom.

REFEREE: Craig Thomson.

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As you day, very disappointing result, but then we were missing Little and Templeton amongst others.

 

From what I gather there is a growing unrest among the fans towards Ally McCoist - hope he stays though, love the bloke!

 

 

If they are going off Ally, I for one will happily swop him for Benitez!  See how they like that!

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If they are going off Ally, I for one will happily swop him for Benitez!  See how they like that!

 

I'd happily unload the fat twat on almost any club in the world to get him away from the Bridge, but I'd hate to see him at Ibrox just as much as I hate him at Chelsea

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I'd happily unload the fat twat on almost any club in the world to get him away from the Bridge, but I'd hate to see him at Ibrox just as much as I hate him at Chelsea

 

 

True, I apologise for spoiling your Saturday evening with such a horrid thought.  Shall we send him to the septics?

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Just show you. From my position in Govan rear directly facing this incident. I thought this was a clear cut penalty...

I'm sure it was the same player (Bishop?) who should have been sent off for that incident in the first half.

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