Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rangers get out of jail in Peterhead


Rangers began what is billed as a stately progression through the leagues on Saturday. But, as guest blogger Robbie Devine found out, Peterhead had other ideas.

Berwick, Chesterfield, Hamilton, Kaunus, Maribor.

At 2:30 on Saturday little Peterhead were on the verge of being added to that list as a side to have ripped up the form book by humbling Rangers with a humiliating defeat.

Only a last minute touch from Andy Little spared the Glasgow’s teams blushes to break the hearts of the Blue Toon on one of the most surreal days in the history of Scottish football.

Pre match the tiny north eastern town more famous for its fishing port than its football team found itself the centre of the football universe with hordes of Rangers supporters descending on this normally sleepy part of Aberdeenshire to witness the rebirth of their troubled club.

Sky TV rolled into town as did countless football hacks, the tiny little Balmoor ground had never seen anything like this.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally  said it was like a circus event, certainly the Rangers team included more than their share of clowns as they really should consider themselves fortunate to leave with a single point.

Credit must go to the home club who were considered an afterthought before the game as the spotlight was on Ally McCoist’s new look Rangers but they were the ones who emerged with all the plaudits giving the Govan giants a real scare.

Although after a sticky start it was the former Scottish champions who took the lead,  17 year old Barrie Mackay showing a maturity way beyond his years with a cool finish.

But the expected avalanche did not materialise and it was no surprise when the hosts drew level thanks to a wonderful piece of skill from Rory McAllister.

With only eight minutes remaining Peterhead were in dreamland as Scott McLaughlin lashed the ball home and a real shock was on the cards.

But the part timers were unable to hold on for a famous victory after Kevin Kyle’s last minute header glanced off the crossbar presenting Little with the opportunity to touch the ball into the net.

Aftewards McCoist did not hold back in his criticism of his defenders which was no surprise as the international centre half paring of Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian combined to produce a shocking display of ineptitude and laziness.

Once he is granted international clearance former Lazio defender the Brazilian Emilson Cribari will no doubt be given a starting place with both the US skipper and Romanian joining the mass exodus out of Ibrox.

McCoist finds himself in a difficult position as despite their stuttering start Rangers should still secure promotion with a bit to spare though already he must have concerns over one or two of his players attitudes and desire to roll their sleeves up and get the job done.

He has been busy bringing in new players to bolster a depleted squad with former SPL stalwarts Ian Black, Dean Shiels, Francisco Sandaza and Kevin Kyle arriving but considering they still have the obstacle of a 12 month transfer embargo kicking in at the end of August I would still expect the Rangers boss to pull out all the stops to bring in further arrivals.

Make no mistake the part time players in the lower leagues will rise to the occasion of facing their more illustrious counterparts from Glasgow and day one should be a wake up call for the Rangers supporters.

Off the field it has been revealed that controversial Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is prepared to pump in around £10 million to the Ibrox coffers with chief executive Charles Green hinting another two billionaires will also be making a major investment as Rangers attempt to drag themselves out of the financial wilderness.

What Greens and his fellow board members real motives are is something of major conjecture as they are still treated by suspicion by the majority of the clubs supports though an incredible 38,000  did attend the 4-0 League Cup romp against East Fife so the fans commitment to stick with their club remains strong.

The story of Rangers adventures in the third division allied with how Green and co plan to restructure the clubs finances is an intriguing one and I expect to bring you more interesting updates as the weeks go by.