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Rangers 1-0 Cowdenbeath SPFL Championship 06/12/2014

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Rangers 1-0 Cowdenbeath


A THIRD goal of the season for Dean Shiels gave Rangers all three points against Cowdenbeath – in a frustrating 90 minutes for the Light Blues.

Shiels came into the starting line-up for just the third time this term and he made the impression he would have wanted.

Replacing the injured Lewis Macleod on the left wing the midfielder looked the liveliest in a nervy Gers 11.

His 58th minute strike was created by Kenny Miller with whom he linked up well with from the off.

Rangers created their first real attacking move in the fourth minute.  Richard Foster found himself with space to spare and took his time to loop a long ball into the area. Miller collected and slotted in Shiels on the left of the box. But the Northern Irish man took a touch too many and saw himself play the ball into Robbie Thomson’s hands.

The pair combined again six minutes later, the striker peeled off to the right and played a sweet ball behind the Cowden defence. Shiels was rushing into the box with pace but his outstretched leg couldn’t quite meet the ball strongly enough to poke it home.

On the quarter hour mark Aird picked the ball up on his right wing and played a quick ball forward to Kris Boyd. Boyd chested it down on the edge of the area and tried for a first time volley – his effort was just tipped off target by a deflection. Boyd was reinstated into the team against Alloa in the Challenge Cup, having been given two games from the bench to try and ease his frustrations in front of goal. His afternoon looked like it might be reverting to that again as he struggled to make an impression.

24 minutes ticked by and the Light Blues, despite having the majority of the play, were struggling to get a shot on target. Ian Black whipped in two consecutive corners - his second was only diverted away from danger by a diving clearance from Kudus Oyenuga. Cowdenbeath appeared rattled and it meant Rangers could fashion their first real scoring effort.

Miller found space on the left and reached the by-line to cut the ball back to Kris Boyd. The striker scuffed his initial touch and the ball found itself at Shiels feet, he let fly but could only watch as his shot crashed off the cross bar.

Cowdenbeath had looked lively in the opening exchanges but as the half hour mark passed, they were finding less chances going forward. Sean Higgins hung around the box to hurry Simonsen but the visitors couldn’t muster a shot to go with their momentary pressure.

Ally McCoist’s men looked frustrated as they failed time and time again to make a proper impact on the attack. On 41 minutes Foster had played the majority of the half pushing on from his left back role and he had an effort to open the scoring when he cut inside and had space to curl a right footed shot at Thomson from the edge of the area. The keeper though was alive to the strike and bundled up the ball to avert any danger and the sides went in at the break 0-0.

Just over ten minutes of the second half were gone when Rangers began to press the Blue Brazil again. Aird had been finding it had to create anything when cutting in from the right wing but he chanced his luck to the by-line. The wide man whipped in a cross which landed on the head of Boyd, put he could only dink it over the cross bar.

Gers looked in a determined mood to break into the game and when a long ball found Miller was by the left corner flag the game was on. He controlled with his head, nodding it into Shiels direction - the midfielder took the ball down and onto his laces to let fly from just inside the box. His strike soared on the diagonal high into the top right corner of Thomson’s net, to put the home side 1-0 ahead with just over half an hour left to play.

Boyd had a clear chance to make it 2-0 when play resumed, but he chose to cut back to his strike partner as Thomson dived at his feet. Miller was grappling with a Cowden centre half and couldn’t get to the ball, which trickled out of play.

Miller found himself seeing stars in the 66th minute as Thomson flew through the air to claim the ball but he also sent the 34-year old face down into the grass. The Ibrox faithful appealed for a penalty on Miller’s behalf as he came to his senses - referee John Beaton waved away any protests.

Craig Johnston came off the bench for Cowden to try and liven up their attack and he succeeded with 15 minutes left to go. He cut in from the right and found himself with space to pick his ball into the box. Darren McGregor was there to meet it with a vital header, clawing away the danger as the visitors queued up to meet it.

With the final stages approaching Foster pressed forward once again to reach the by-line, putting a ball back across into the box for Miller. The striker was on the penalty spot as he got his shot away but Cowden’s defenders threw themselves to the ground to thwart any hopes of a second goal for Rangers.  

Nicky Clark and Jon Daly were off the bench and making positive strides into the game - they combined with the final touches of the game. Daly choosing to play in Clark rather than take the shot on himself and the forward's strike was just palmed wide as the final whistle blew.

RANGERS: Simonsen, Foster, McGregor, Mohsni, McCulloch, Shiels, Black, Law, Aird, Boyd (Daly 68â€), Miller (Clark 85â€)

SUBS NOT USED: Robinson, Smith, Templeton, Faure, Hutton

Goals: Shiels 58â€

Yellows: Miller 10â€

COWDENBEATH: Thomson, Wedderburn, Robertson, Milne, Higgins, Oyenuga, Miller, Marshall, Fraser, Hughes (Johnston 68â€), Halsam.

SUBS NOT USED: Sneddon, Campbell, O’Brien, Kane, Brownlie, Scullion

Yellows: Hughes 34â€, Halsam 86â€

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