Latest Results

Rangers 2 Peterhead 0

Sun 11 Nov 2012

Peterhead may not have left Ibrox with any points, but there were plenty of positives for The Blue Toon to take out of their visit to Govan.

A goal just before half-time from Lee McCulloch and a second from Lee Wallace earned Ally McCoist’s side victory, but there was plenty of credit for the tight and stuffy way Peterhead played.

Still missing captain Callum Macdonald, Jim McInally was able to welcome Dean Cowie and Jamie Redman back into the midfield as he set his men out in a 5-4-1 formation. Also starting was loan signing David Cox, who has joined from Alloa Athletic.

There were six full internationals in the Gers starting eleven, but Peterhead could have been in front within the opening five minutes.

Rory McAllister gambled to get in behind the home defence as Dave Ross challenged Ian Black for an aerial ball, and when the Rangers man misplaced his header back, the striker was left with just Neil Alexander to beat.

Linesman Raymond White was caught out by Black’s touch and raised his flag but was correctly over-ruled by Craig Charleston, leaving McAllister to wheel away in anguish as he lifted the ball over the keeper and off the crossbar.

Cox was first to the rebound and, although he was forced wide, did well to twist and turn to find the space to angle a cross-cum-shot which Neil Alexander palmed out from under the bar.

It was a marker for how Peterhead were approaching the game, and McAllister again should have done better when he rose to head a Ryan Strachan free-kick over the bar two minutes later.

Rangers had dominated the possession thus far but Peterhead’s sturdy defence kept them from registering a shot on target until Dean Shiels 11th minute strike was held by goalkeeper Marc McCallum.

The home side were poised to seize upon any mistakes in the home defence, though, and Black sent a 25-yard shot whistling wide after Scott Ross could only half-clear a cross.

And McCallum was relieved to see the ball fizz past his left-hand upright midway through the first half, Andy Little having plucked an Anestis Argyriou cross out of the air before hitting a superb effort on the turn.

Home skipper Lee McCulloch sent a frustrated effort over the bar as Peterhead continued to force Ally McCoist’s men to play in front of them, but McCallum was soon called into action again, palming away a free-kick from Black.

There was another moment of relief in the Rangers defence when former Celtic man Ryan Strachan delivered a wicked free-kick from the left, which evaded the leap of Alexander and crashed back off the bar.

Cox was impressing with an energetic display on the right of midfield, but the former Kilmarnock man left his side in trouble when his short pass-back was picked up by Little. The striker looked set to open the scoring, but McCallum spread his giant frame to turn the ball away for a corner.

The home fans had already appealed, rather optimistically, for a penalty when they thought Scott Ross had handled a cross he actually brought down on his chest, but there was more substance to a second claim six minutes before the interval.

Ross was again involved, but could do nothing to move his arms out the way from Little’s touch, and quite rightly Charleston again waved play on.

The official was having a good game, and two minutes later pulled the play back for a Rangers free-kick after Scott McLaughlin’s challenge was just enough to make Shiels stumble and lose any advantage he may have otherwise gained.

From the free-kick, McCulloch struck the wall and the ball spun away for a corner from which he would enjoy greater success.

The former Wigan Athletic man peeled away from Scott Ross as Black delivered the ball from the left, and guided a header across goal and into the far corner of the net.

It was a bitter blow for Peterhead to concede so close to the break, especially having done so much to frustrate their hosts up to that point.

And the blow obviously hit them hard as they came close to conceding a quick-fire second, losing the ball from the kick off and allowing the home side to ease through before Little hit wide.

There was time for Redman to send a left-footed effort over the bar before the half-time break, but it was clear the Blue Toon needed to regroup.

While McInally set to work in the dressing room, 500 members of the various armed forces were allowed to roam free on the Ibrox pitch having been invited by Rangers to take part in their Remembrance Sunday celebrations.

Before the match a minute silence, marked at either end by the firing of an artillery gun, had been impeccably observed by the 48, 407 crowd, and an impressive display involving both sets of fans paid tribute to those who have died in conflict.

The half-time festivities dispensed with, there was more of the same in terms of on-pitch action. The home side had much of the possession but were restricted largely to shots from distance, with Scott Ross and Ross Smith in particular doing much to repel the Rangers attacks.

It started to get a bit scrappy in the midfield, with Cowie going into the book, quickly followed by McCulloch and then Black.

McCulloch’s booking was earned for a foul on McAllister, and presented the Blue Toon with a chance to remind Rangers that there were two teams in this game.

That’s exactly what they did; Strachan again delivered from the left, McAllister found himself free in the area, but will have been disappointed to have headed straight at the goalkeeper.

Passing up such a chance was to prove costly, though you would have to say the second Rangers bore a resemblance to a goal scored by Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic earlier in the season.

Dave Ross was penalised for blocking off Wallace on the left and from the resultant free kick, Black played a pass back into a space quickly filled by Wallace, who peeled away from McAllister to run right across the penalty area fire home at the near post. As the ball hit the net, you sensed it was game over.

Peterhead remained stoic, though, and there were only a couple of chances for Rangers to extend their lead. Shiels was involved in both, firstly sending a shot wide of the upright after making space for himself.

Shiels turned provider with eight minutes remaining, working an opening on the right and unselfishly cutting back for substitute Kal Naismith, only to see the young hitman draw a fine save from the on-loan Dundee United goalkeeper McCallum.

RANGERS: Neil Alexander, Anestis Argyriou, Chris Hegarty, Andy Little (Kal Naismith, 68), Lee Wallace, Lee McCulloch, Robbie Crawford (Fraser Aird, 80), Ian Black (Kyle Hutton, 72), Dean Shiels, Lewis McLeod, Barrie McKay. Subs not used: Kamil Witorski, Scott Gallacher (gk).

Booked: McCulloch, Black.

PETERHEAD: Marc McCallum, Dave Ross, Steven Noble, Ross Smith, Scott Ross, Ryan Strachan, Dean Cowie (Bryan Deasley, 61), Jamie Redman (Martin Bavidge, 73), Rory McAllister, David Cox (Robbie Winters, 80), Scott McLaughlin. Subs not used: Stephen Maguire, Paul Jarvie (gk).

Booked: Cowie, Deasley.

Attendance: 48, 407