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Rangers vs Peterhead (SFL 3rd) 20/04/2013 KO 15:00 GMT


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This afternoon, Rangers take on Peterhead at Ibrox, who are currently second in the table following a run of five successive wins, level on points with Queen's Park, but with a superior goal difference. Back in November, Rangers beat Peterhead 2-0 thanks to goals from Lee McCulloch and Wallace.

 

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In early team news, Andy Little returns to the squad but Emilson Cribari is "almost certain" to miss today's game.

 

Little In, Cribari A Doubt

 

ANDY LITTLE will return to the Rangers squad for tomorrow’s SFL3 clash against Jim McInally’s Peterhead at Ibrox but Emilson Cribari is almost certain to miss the game.

Little has been out of action for almost a month with a knee problem but recently returned to full training as the Light Blues prepare for their three remaining league fixtures.

The 23-year-old striker, who has 25 goals in all competitions this season, will be desperate to finish his impressive campaign on a high and his manager, speaking at today’s press conference at Murray Park, confirmed the Ulsterman is back in his plans.

Cribari is expected to miss the 90 minutes due to a groin injury but Chris Hegarty will be available for selection following a two-game ban and youngsters Luca Gasparotto and Andy Mitchell will again bolster the squad with the latter named Man of the Match against Clyde last weekend.

McCoist said: “Andy Little is better and he’ll be involved and is certainly in the squad for tomorrow.

“But again we have real problems, centre half wise as well because Cribari looks as though he is out and Perry is out.

“So Gasparotto and Andy Mitchell will keep their places in the squad and Hegarty is also back having been out for the last two games.

“We are glad to have Andy back but we are disappointed to be losing Cribari who is obviously a steadying influence at the back.â€

Tomorrow’s opponents Peterhead now sit second in the league on 50 points and travel to Ibrox on the back of a five-game winning run in which they have scored 17 goals without conceding.

 

Elsewhere  Chris Hegarty has warned Rangers not to underestimate Peterhead, describing them as "the best team the Light Blues have faced in the league this year."

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Team news:

 

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RANGERS are unleashing the 50-goal partnership of Lee McCulloch and Andy Little on Peterhead today in the penultimate home game of the season.

Ulsterman Little has won his fitness battles after a knee problem and will play in a front two with skipper McCulloch.

Only rarely have the two stars played up top beside each other and Rangers hope it will pay dividends today against Jim McInally’s side.

It means David Templeton will move to the right side of midfield with Fraser Aird operating on the left and the return of Little means Robbie Crawford moves to the bench.

As expected Emilson Cribari has not made the game due to a groin problem which affected him in last week’s game against Clyde.

So Northern Ireland’s Chris Hegarty comes back in after his two-match suspension and will partner Seb Faure in the heart of defence.

Unsurprisingly, after a Man of the Match performance last week, fellow countryman and flat mate Andy Mitchell keeps his place in the right back position.

There are also bench places for Luca Gasparotto and Danny Stoney.

Rangers: Alexander; Mitchell, Hegarty, Faure, Wallace; Templeton, Black, Hutton, Aird; Little, McCulloch.
Subs: Smith, Gasparotto, Crawford, Naismith, Stoney.

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A first half in which Rangers dominated but wasted a plethora of chances, coupled with some sloppy defending and a largely lucklustre, directionless second half, culiminated in a disappointing home defeat even given the arguably meaningless nature of the fixture.

 

Rangers 1-2 Peterhead

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RANGERS suffered their third defeat in SFL3 this season after goals from Scott Ross and Rory McAllister gave Peterhead a famous victory at Ibrox Stadium.


Jim McInally’s men arrived in Glasgow on the back of five league wins on the bounce and having scored 17 goals without conceding.

This run had catapulted the Blue Toon up into second place in the league and they put in another spirited display to beat the Light Blues on their home patch.

The early signs looked good for Ally McCoist's side when Lee McCulloch’s tenacious play led to an early goal but on 23 minutes the game was level when Ross headed home at the back post.

The visitors then went ahead after the break when McAllister hit his 21st goal of the campaign but the Rangers players and McCoist will no doubt be frustrated after a disappointing second-half display.

The manager made two changes to the team that beat Clyde 2-0 seven days ago with Andy Little joining skipper McCulloch in attack and David Templeton shifting out to the right wing.

With Emilson Cribari unavailable because of a groin injury Chris Hegarty returned to the team after a two-game suspension with the Ulsterman starting alongside Seb Faure in the middle of the Gers defence.

It was McCulloch, however, who netted his 26th goal of the season with just 11 minutes on the clock.

The skipper used his power to latch on to a slack back pass before firing the ball into the roof of the net with former Gers keeper Graeme Smith unable to stop him.

The goal was just what the game needed and on 20 minutes Rangers came close to doubling their advantage. Kyle Hutton slipped a great ball in behind the Peterhead backline to McCulloch who took it past Smith but could only hit the post from a tight angle.

This proved costly as, just three minutes later, Peterhead were back on level terms. After a short corner David Cox whipped in a dangerous cross to the back post and centre half Ross was there to power a header in from close range.

The game was now opening up and on 26 minutes Rangers should have regained their lead. Little produced a neat flick to Templeton who, with just the keeper to beat, smacked the post with his shot when he really should have scored.

After a slow start it was turning into an intriguing first half albeit the action was unnecessarily halted when Ian Black, David Cox and Ryan Strachan were booked following a brief altercation in front of the Gers technical area.

McCoist stayed with the same 11 players for the start of the second half but he did change his tactics slightly with Templeton joining McCulloch up top and Little moving to the right wing.

It was Peterhead though that came out of the traps quickly and a superb left-foot volley from Andy Rodgers clipped Alexander’s crossbar with the keeper well beaten.

Sloppy is the only word that can be used to describe Rangers’ play after the break and on 55 minutes they were punished.

McAllister's excellent first touch took him away from his marker and his accurate finish from 18 yards was his 10th goal in six games.

Kal Naismith was introduced before the hour mark in place of Fraser Aird as the Light Blues tried to get back into the game.

Peterhead, however, continued to push forward with intent and another back post header from Ross from a Strachan corner had to be watched carefully by Alexander as it narrowly missed the target.

On 68 minutes Daniel Stoney went on for Templeton and the 16-year-old almost had an instant impact when he fired a shot over the bar at the Copland Road end of the stadium.

Naismith was also seeing planty of the ball and the number 12’s dipping free-kick from 25 yards produced a good save from Smith.

At the other end McAllister was a constant threat and with 10 minutes remaining his instinctive left foot volley was inches away from finding the postage stamp corner of the net.

As the final minutes ticked away Peterhead put every man behind the ball to preserve their lead and after Smith palmed a powerful drive from McCulloch over the bar the visitors were able to celebrate their shock win against the Champions at Euan Norris' final whistle.

RANGERS: Alexander; Mitchell, Hegarty (Gasparotto 75), Faure, Wallace; Templeton (Stoney 68), Black, Hutton, Aird (Naismith 57); Little, McCulloch

Subs: Smith, Crawford

Booked: Black

PETERHEAD: G. Smith, Sharp, Noble, Ross, R. Smith, Cowie (McCann 62), Cox (Gilfillan 62), Redman, McAllister, Rodgers (McGlinchey 79), Strachan

Subs: Jarvie, Fitzgerald

Booked: Cox, Strachan, McAllister

REF: Euan Norris

ATTN: 43,961

 

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Rangers were okay at times, but very poor at others.

 

They could and should have been 2 up before Peterhead equalised, McCulloch hitting the post.Then should have been 2-1 up when Templeton hit post

 

The first goal concede was a disgrace defensively with a decent corner allowed to travel across box and an unmarked Ross heading into net at back post.

 

McCulloch despite all his goals is not a main striker, he has got away with it at this level. Fair play to him for his attitude and commitment to the club this past season  though

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