David Templeton eyes up titanic Hearts clash after Rangers claim Alloa victory

Rangers' Steven Smith and Alloa's Michael Doyle tussle
Rangers' Steven Smith and Alloa's Michael Doyle tussle

David Templeton was both realistic and relieved to finally be a part of a Rangers side that – at the fourth time of asking – finally overcame a stubborn Alloa Athletic at Recreation Park.

The closing stages had been nervy in a game that the Ibrox men should have won by a much more comfortable margin.

“It was always going to be a tense finish when we didn’t take the chances we had. Weshould have scored more – I missed a few myself and that would have made it more comfortable for us,” he said.

“When you are 1-0 up then they are going to throw everything at you and they did exactly that.

“We managed to hold out though – to get the win and a clean sheet is great. The last time we came here we were two goals up comfortably and didn’t see the game out – but we managed to do that on this occasion.

“We’ve played Alloa three times and hadn’t managed to get a win until now so to go there and get the three points is a weight off our minds.

“This is such a difficult place to come to for any side – it’s such a hard surface to get used to and the weather didn’t help either.

“Mentally it was difficult to go to Alloa knowing we hadn’t won there before so to get the win was a good confidence booster.”

Next up for Rangers is the visit of Hearts next Friday evening – a fixture that is as critical as they come and surely representatives the Ibrox side’s final opportunity to challenge the Tynecastle side for the Championship title.

Templeton is of course himself a former Hearts player – and he recalled his time in Edinburgh whilst paying tribute to both the Tynecastle side and coach Robbie Neilson.

“Robbie as a great influence on me – he played behind me at Tynecastle. Hearts are on a great run just now and are high on confidence – but we should have won the first game against them at Ibrox. I missed a sitter with the game goalless,” he added.

For manager Kenny McDowall there was an acknowledgement that the final score was all that mattered in the final analysis.

“The main thing today was getting the three points because of all that has gone before this season with Alloa and combined with all the external conditions like the weather and pitch,” he said.

“This was always going to be a difficult game – Alloa make it difficult for any team that comes here so I can only be delighted to get the three points.

“We struggled to get the second goal so it made for a tense ending. Every team in this league keeps going until the end and they don’t let up – no matter the score.”

McDowall paid tribute to both goalscorer Nicky Law whose early strike proved to be the only goal of the game and to his team-mate Jon Daly.

“Nicky has been outstanding and it was a good goal, well worked through Kenny Miller and Jon Daly. Nicky does that well – he hits the box and takes advantage of his chances and that is why he’s got ten goals so far this season.

“Jon is an experienced forward who knows how to play others in.”

Law echoed his manager’s thoughts, emphasising the nature of the conditions, both in terms of playing surface and weather.

“We’ve had really difficult games against Alloa both at home and away this year. This is our third game against them here and we know that it’s hard to get a win at the best of times, let alone when there’s swirling winds and blizzards, so it was a fantastic result for us.

“We knew what the conditions were going to be like before we came here today and that it wasn’t going to be a pretty game – but we got the three points and that’s what was important.”

Remarkably for a midfielder, the Englishman is now the club’s leading scorer with 10 goals following his winner at Recreation Park.

“It feels great to be top scorer – hitting double figures was something that I’d been looking to do for the last few weeks and hadn’t been able to do,” he said.