Friday 19 January 2018

Rangers find it tough going in first competitive game as newco

Brechin City 1 Rangers 2

Ewing Grahame

Those who anticipated the new-look Rangers swaggering through the lower leagues without breaking sweat may have to adjust their mindset after extra-time was required to shrug off the challenge of Second Division Brechin City in the first round of the Ramsdens Cup at Glebe Park yesterday.

"It was closer than I'd hoped but I wouldn't say it was closer than I expected," said manager Ally McCoist. "I think we deserved to win the game and I'm very pleased.

"However, we've lost 22 players since January and brought only one in, so I need to sign some more in the next four weeks."

Even allowing for all the experienced players who refused to transfer their registrations, McCoist was still able to field seven full internationalists in his starting line-up while new signing Ian Black played as a triallist.

Of course, youth also had its fling, with 18-year-old midfielder Lewis McLeod and winger Barry McKay (17) making their competitive debuts.

It may have taken over a week of wrangling for Rangers newco to receive the conditional membership they needed in order to play at Glebe Park but they required only minutes to show that they meant business.

Brechin surrendered possession in the centre circle, Lee McCulloch released Andy Little and the striker raced through unopposed to send a left-foot drive behind the advancing Michael Andrews for the opening goal.

However, former St Johnstone centre-forward Andy Jackson equalised just before the break and Brechin squandered a glorious chance to take the lead immediately after the restart.

Rangers lacked the wit to unlock an obdurate home defence, with the quality of the final ball being particularly disappointing, but McCulloch eventually headed home the winner from a corner. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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