Rangers pay the penalty again at Ibrox as Montrose strike late equaliser

ON TARGET: Montrose David Gray (centre) celebrates after scoring at ibrox
ON TARGET: Montrose David Gray (centre) celebrates after scoring at ibrox

For the second time in three weeks a last-minute goal at Ibrox cost Rangers victory and two points in a game that they should have been runaway winners.

On January 5 it was Elgin City – on Saturday it was Montrose who committed grand larceny in a game where the Light Blues enjoyed somewhere in the region of 90% of the possession, pressure and goalscoring opportunities only for a lack of sharpness and penetration near goal to cost them dear.

The over-riding impression not just on Saturday but in many recent games is that Rangers are now going through the motions, doing just enough and no more to win most games and occasionally being mugged late on, such as against Montrose.

It frankly beggars belief that Ally McCoist’s men failed to secure all three points in a game they totally dominated – but somehow the equaliser from substitute David Gray had a hint of the inevitable about it.

McCoist had made one change from Peterhead with Dean Shiels replacing Ian Black – but Rangers suffered an injury setback just before the half-hour mark when Lewis Macleod – arguably the club’s finest player this season – was stretchered off following a block tackle from Paul Watson.

With the interval approaching Rangers finally made the breakthrough when Templeton crossed from wide right, the ball finding the corner of the net with the aid of a deflection from defender John Crawford.

The home side did restart with the tempo increased in search of the crucial second goal – and might have achieved it with another assist when Sandaza was through on a Black pass only for Alan Campbell, in attempting to clear, to slice the ball goal- wards. On-loan (from Dundee) goalkeeper John Gibson rescued his new team-mate however, clawing the ball away.

Chris Hegarty limped off on the hour, to be replaced by Sebastien Faure – then twice within as many minutes Shiels came close to making the game safe, firstly when his curling twenty-yarder was inches wide then when his volley from a Templeton free-kick was blocked.

With the crowd growing increasingly nervous Alexander was tested six minutes later when he held a Jamie Winter 25-yard free-kick.

However the equaliser was merely delayed – substitute David Gray seeing his 30-yard drive crash down off the underside of the bar and over the line.