Rangers labour to victory against Falkirk to get league campaign up and running

Rangers players celebrate Nicky Clark's goal against Falkirk at Westfield
Rangers players celebrate Nicky Clark's goal against Falkirk at Westfield

Rangers chalked up their first league win of the season with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Falkirk at Westfield on Friday night.

Two second-half goals from Lewis MacLeod and Nicky Clark sealed the win – but for an hour the Ibrox men were unimpressive and struggled to make an impact.

Indeed it looked for long enough that Ally McCoist’s men could easily suffer their second consecutive defeat.

Rangers’ last visit to Westfield was as recently as last season when late goals from Nicky Law and David Templeton secured a 2-0 Scottish Cup victory.

Rangers – wearing all-red – lined up on the artificial surface with Lee McCulloch in midfield, Darren McGregor at right-back and Marius Zaliukas partnering Bilel Mohsni in central defence.

Blair Alston was inches away from giving Falkirk a seventh minute lead with a clever flick from an Alex Cooper cross as the home side made the early running.

The Ibrox men were struggling to get a foothold in the game – but a MacLeod corner on the quarter-hour mark did fall to David Templeton whose low 25-yard drive was just wide.

Falkirk continued to dominate after the break – and were denied twice in quick succession by Bell, firstly when the goalkeeper touched over a Cooper 20-yard free-kick then from the resultant corner he produced a superb point-blank save from an Alston header.

Finally the Ibrox men came to life – and McCulloch should have done better than fire over when the ball broke to him from a Lee Wallace free-kick.

Fraser Aird replaced the ineffective Templeton midway through the second-half – and nine minutes later the substitute had a major part to play in the opening goal, his break across the halfway line turning defence into attack before finding MacLeod who found the corner of the net with the aid of a deflection with a low 25-yard drive.

Aird had a great chance to make it 2-0 in 83 minutes when he was twice denied by McDonald as an almighty scramble ensued in the six-yard box – but the second goal was merely delayed as for once Rangers made effective use of a dead-ball situation.

MacLeod’s corner to the near post was met by Nicky Law whose flick across the face of goal was turned home by Clark.