Sunday, 20 January 2013

Back to Ibrox.

Rangers 1 Elgin City 1
It was my first trip back to Ibrox since Rangers' drop to the Scottish 3rd division. I could lie to you and say it was how I remembered it or I could tell you my actual experience...

As Elgin City and Newco Rangers emerged from the tunnel, all seemed as I remembered it: Tina Turner and that song, the roar of the packed Govan stadium and the presence of Super Ally in the dug out. However, I soon noticed a different strip, a different line up and next, a different game. Perhaps the most overwhelming change was the difference in quality. That is not to say that the level of skill, fitness or competition was poor, it was just a significant step down from the SPL. However, what slightly made up for it was the continued passion and pride of the fans.
Credit was due to the visiting team whom from the offset appeared organised in formation, disciplined in defence and looked threatening whenever on a break away attack. Although, the home advantage of having a '12th man' appeared to give the Glasgow side the upper hand in the first half. A low shot from Lewis MacLeod gave the crowd something to cheer about and the excitement was certainly not over yet.  A tackle from Paul Harkins on Rangers' Ian Black, led to his dismissal just before half-time adding a different and new dimension to the game.
In the second half, opportunities fell to a variety of the home sides' players, perhaps most agonisingly an open goal miss from captain Lee McCulloch.  With three minutes from the final whistle, Stuart Leslie's header was spilled by goalkeeper Alexander and the visitors' equalised.
Overall, a rued chance by Rangers' to take advantage of a man down, Ross Jack's men became the first visiting team to claim league points at Ibrox this season. Ally McCoist's side still remain top of the table but it is clear that Ibrox is not the fortress it used to be.

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