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Rangers vs. Alloa Athletic SPFL Championship 15/11/14 KO 15:00


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Team News: Smith And Mcleod Start

 

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ALLY MCCOIST has made one change to his starting eleven for this afternoon’s Championship clash against Alloa with Steven Smith taking the place of Lee Wallace at left back.

The manager admitted in his press conference at Murray Park yesterday that Wallace was struggling with an injury and he will now miss this afternoon’s match against the Wasps with Smith making his seventh start of the campaign.

Lewis Macleod is also in the Gers side after he was given permission by Gordon Strachan to leave the Scotland squad.

That is undoubtedly a massive boost for the Light Blues and Macleod will now be hoping to add to the eight goals he has already scored this season, a tally which makes him Rangers’ joint top scorer along with Kris Boyd who has found the net the same number of times.

With Steve Simonsen between the posts, a back four of Richard Foster, skipper Lee McCulloch, Darren McGregor and Steven Smith will be out to protect the big Englishman’s goal.

In front of them is a midfield quartet of Templeton on the right, Nicky Law and Ian Black through the middle and Macleod on the left flank. Up top the in-form Kenny Miller joins Boyd.

Rangers, of course, have now won their last eight games in a row, keeping seven clean sheets, and three more points this afternoon will keep the pressure on league leaders Hearts who take on Falkirk at Westfield at 5.30pm.

On the Gers bench this afternoon are Lee Robinson, Seb Faure, Nicky Clark, Jon Daly, Dean Shiels, Kyle Hutton and 17-year-old Ryan Hardie.

RANGERS: Simonsen; Foster, McGregor, McCulloch, Smith; Templeton, Black, Law, Macleod; Boyd, Miller

SUBS: Robinson, Faure, Clark, Daly, Shiels, Hutton, Hardie


 

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Rangers 1-1 Alloa

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RANGERS suffered a day of frustration at Ibrox as they dropped two crucial Championship points against Alloa Athletic for the second time this season.


After a 1-1 draw at the Indodrill Stadium on September 20, the Wasps again stung Ally McCoist’s men as they put in a solid, disciplined display which frustrated the Light Blues for long spells.

It was Lee McCulloch who opened the scoring in the 72 minute. Lewis Macleod’s deep corner arrived at the skipper who took a good touch before blasting a shot past Craig McDowall in Alloa’s goal.

With Rangers controlling much of the second half that goal appeared to put the home side in a great position to claim an important victory but Alloa, in a rare attack after the break, netted a shock equaliser on 78 minutes.

Steve Simonsen did well initially to deny Kevin Cawley with a terrific save but when the ball came back out to Liam Buchanan he fired it into the roof of the net to silence the stunned Ibrox faithful.

The 1-1 result at the final whistle is one few would have predicted in the build-up to the game and Rangers will rue several missed chances throughout the contest.

With just 51 seconds played they pushed forward with purpose but when Miller clipped a clever ball in behind Alloa’s defence and across the six-yard box there were no blue shirts there to take advantage.

On five minutes McDowall then had to pick the ball out of his net. Steven Smith’s delivery, again from the left, found Nicky Law but while the midfielder finished well at the keeper’s near post the linesman in front of the Sandy Jardine Stand raised his flag with Smith receiving the ball in an offside position.

Alloa then enjoyed a good early spell themselves and Simonsen had to be sharp to make a good diving save after Michael Doyle had fired a right-foot shot from 25 yards.

On 16 minutes Kris Boyd was then guilty of missing a snip at the other end of the park. Law’s pass took a nick off a defender and the ball went straight through to Boyd who just had McDowall to beat. The visitor’s keeper, however, did well to deny the striker who, nine out of 10 times, would have scored from the same position.

Before the half hour mark the game took a dip in quality with the atmosphere in the stadium going flat as a result. On 31 minutes, however, Rangers produced another good attack which should have resulted in the opening goal.

Macleod fed the ball to Foster on the right and his cross looked to be perfect for Templeton who had found a space in the box. The winger’s header from 12 yards, however, went well wide of target in front of the Broomloan Stand.

Alloa were starting to grow in confidence and Simonsen again did well to palm a shot around the post after Cawley came in from his right wing berth and tried his luck from distance.

The visitors were doing all their manager would have asked pre-match, keeping it tight at the back and driving forward on the counter, and Barry Smith’s plan worked in the first half.

With Liam Buchanan up front himself the other nine outfield players in goal and black hoops were sitting deep and soaking up the pressure, albeit Rangers were struggling to find their best form.

It made for a frustrating opening 45 minutes for the Light Blues and they had to up there game in the second period or risk dropping crucial Championship points which, in the end, they did.

After the break, however, it was marginally better from the League One champions as they exerted more pressure on the Wasps’ goal.

On 46 minutes a drilled cross from Macleod had just too much power on it and Boyd could only head over.

The youngster then cut in from the left in the next attack and his effort from the edge of the 18-yard box looked to be curling into the far corner but McDowall was there to tip the ball around the post.

With the game still goalless, and Simonsen a virtual spectator, there was now increasing pressure on Rangers to break the deadlock and after 59 minutes McCoist made his first change with Daly replacing Boyd.

The manager was then forced into a second substitution not long after with Seb Faure going on for Richard Foster who hobbled off the pitch with an injury.

On 72 minutes the sense of relief around the ground was palpable as McCulloch slammed the ball into the net to make it 1-0.

Macleod’s corner found Jig at the back post and after taking a touch he rifled a left foot drive into the net, giving McDowall no chance.

Fans’ joy, however, soon turned to agony as Alloa levelled with 12 minutes remaining.

Cawley’s low shot brought out a terrific save from Simonsen but Buchanan reacted quickest and the number 19 blasted the rebound into the roof of the net to make it an afternoon to remember for the small band of Alloa fans in the 29,458 crowd.

RANGERS (4-4-2): Simonsen; Foster (Faure 64), McGregor, McCulloch, Smith; Macleod, Black, Law, Templeton (Clark 80); Boyd (Daly 59), Miller

SUBS: Robinson, Shiels, Hutton, Hardie

GOAL: McCulloch 72

BOOKINGS: Black

ALLOA (4-1-4-1): McDowall; Doyle, Gordon, Meggatt, Marr; Docherty; Tiffoney, Simmons, McCord (Benedictus 90), Cawley; Buchanan (Ferns 84)

SUBS: Gibson, Holmes, Hetherington, Asghar, Hynd

GOAL: Buchanan 78

BOOKINGS: Meggatt, Simmons, Tiffoney

REF: Greg Aitken  
ATT: 29,458

 

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