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Rangers vs. Inverness CT Scottish League Cup R2 16/09/2014 KO 19:45


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Match Preview: Ally Keeps The Faith With The Side That Beat Raith

 

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RANGERS go with the same team which beat Raith so impressively last Friday for tonight’s League Cup tie with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The Light Blues shone throughout in their 4-0 win at Starks Park as goals from Nicky Clark, Ian Black, Nicky Law and Lee McCulloch swung the contest their way.

As such, it’s no great surprise to see Ally McCoist sticking with the starting XI he selected in Fife for the encounter with John Hughes’ Highlanders.

With Cammy Bell still coming back from injury, Steve Simonsen is in goals once again and a back four of Darren McGregor, McCulloch, Bilel Mohsni and Lee Wallace ahead of him.

Fraser Aird and Lewis Macleod play either side of Black and Law in midfield while Kris Boyd partners in-form Clark up front.

Manager McCoist has chosen the same substitutes too, meaning Lee Robinson is the back-up goalkeeper.

Stevie Smith, Marius Zaliukas, David Templeton, Jon Daly, Arnold Peralta and Dean Shiels complete the list of replacements.

An away tie at Falkirk awaits the winners of this fixture in the third round of the competition, with that fixture due to take place next midweek.

Gers seek progression to that match as they look for a better performance and result than they had the last time they met Inverness two years ago.

Also playing in the League Cup, they were beaten 3-0 at Ibrox by Caley Jags but that’s one of only four losses they’ve suffered to this evening’s opponents in 23 meetings.

Rangers have 13 victories to their credit, while six games have ended in stalemate and the scoreline on each occasion has been 1-1.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm and the match will be played to a finish, with extra-time and penalties to follow the regulation 90 minutes if required.

Fans living outside the UK can tune in live and watch all the action with Tom Miller and Derek Johnstone on RangersTV.

If you’ve not yet got a ticket, a cash gate will be in operation at the stadium should home-based supporters wish to attend.

RANGERS: Simonsen; McGregor, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace; Aird, Black, Law, Macleod; Clark, Boyd.

SUBS: Robinson, Smith, Daly, Templeton, Peralta, Shiels, Zaliukas.

 

 

Edited by Big Figure
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Excellent win and fully deserved. For much of the match it appeared to all intents and purposes that Rangers were the team on top of the Premiership, and Inverness the lower league outfit.

 

Rangers 1-0 Inverness CT
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LEWIS MACLEOD’S late goal gave Rangers a memorable League Cup victory over Premiership side Inverness as they deservedly sealed a place in round three.

The Light Blues were the better team for most of the night at Ibrox against last season's beaten finalists but found their top flight opponents tough to crack.

In the end, a lucky nick off an away boot was enough to help Macleod’s shot after 78 minutes over the line.

That made the difference in a tight contest which saw Gers avenge their 3-0 loss to Caley Thistle in the same competition two years ago.

Ally McCoist’s men now progress to an away tie at Falkirk at the next stage and that match will take place next Tuesday or Wednesday.

There weren’t many clear talking points to look back on from the opening quarter hour but Rangers certainly started brightly.

Often dictating play and spending plenty of time in their opponents’ half, they also forced the Highlanders to move the ball quickly when they lost possession themselves.

Chances to score finally came and initially it was the hosts who had them, with Macleod unlucky not to make more of the first one.

He found the ball in front of him when Fraser Aird crossed in to him from the right with a decent delivery after Nicky Clark had laid off well.

But the opportunity rather took the Scotland under-21 international by surprise and it bounced off his thigh then into Dean Brill’s grateful grasp.

Moments later, Clark was involved again as he slid a delightful through ball to Kris Boyd - a scorer of five cup goals prior to this game in 2014/15 – sent him scampering clear.

The striker’s first touch was heavy, however, and he was always struggling to poke past the onrushing Brill after that.

Inverness only lost their place at the top of the Premiership table on Saturday after a good first few weeks of the season had won John Hughes a manager of the month award.

It was therefore to be expected that they’d respond positively and they did, with a spell of pressure of their own causing concern.

Greg Tansey’s long-distance shot deflected behind for a corner as they came forward with purpose then Lee McCulloch’s slice ensured they earned another such set piece.

Thankfully neither came off and Gers came upfield again, with Macleod getting into a promising area but not quite connecting the way he’d hoped to.

Aird’s direct approach saw him rocket a fierce cross into the mix too which had to be dealt with swiftly by the visiting defence.

Bilel Mohsni took aim from 35 yards and although his shot was maybe off target in any case, it still forced a corner but the Light Blues couldn’t capitalise.

And although McCulloch got on the end of Macleod’s delicate centre after Lee Wallace was fouled on the left, he glanced wide and it remained 0-0 at the break.

It took Rangers a little time to get going again after the restart but Macleod’s rising shot was a decent enough attempt even if it was always heading over.

At the other end, a big lapse in concentration by Mohsni let in Tansey but luckily Billy McKay put the ball wide from his cut back.

Back came Gers, with Macleod breaking forward and finding Aird with a terrific pass, only for the winger to try cutting inside when shooting first time would have been better.

Play was swinging from end to end and the game was opening up as both sides tried to hit on the counter and stretch the other.

McCoist certainly felt his men could profit and threw on Jon Daly and David Templeton as play moved into the closing stages.

Templeton almost made an impact moments after coming on as he collected a cross-field pass from Black and fired wide from the edge of the area.

While he couldn’t net, Macleod eventually did as he put Rangers ahead with 12 minutes of the game remaining.

Law tried to lift the ball into a central area as he latched on to a heavy pass in the right channel and his attempt appeared to come off a hand.

With home fans claiming for a penalty, up stepped Macleod to stroke the opener into the net from 15 yards with the help of a deflection off Josh Meekings.

Templeton very nearly made it two as McCulloch broke clear from defence and fed him but Brill did just enough to help his shot after a mazy run behind.

Wallace too was blocked at the last second when his former Hearts team-mate released him down the left.

Time was beginning to run out for the Highlanders, who had never really looked like getting back on level terms after falling behind.

And although Gary Warren put the ball in the net in injury time, his effort was offside and it’s Gers who will meet the Bairns next week.

RANGERS: Simonsen; McGregor, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace; Aird (Templeton 73), Black, Law, Macleod; Clark, Boyd (Daly 72).

SUBS NOT USED: Robinson, Smith, Peralta, Shiels, Zaliukas.

SCORER: Macleod 78.

BOOKINGS: Black, Macleod.

INVERNESS CT: Brill; Raven, Warren, Meekings, Tremarco; Polworth, Tansey, Williams (Christie 73), Doran, Watkins; McKay.

SUBS NOT USED: Esson, Ross, Devine, Horner.

BOOKINGS: Doran, Tansey.

REFEREE: Crawford Allan.

ATTENDANCE: 15,208.

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