James Tavernier on target as Rangers secure promotion to top table

Rangers returned to their rightful place in the top division of Scottish Football with a narrow 1-0 win over Dumbarton at Ibrox Stadium wih a second-half goal from James Tavernier securing the victory.

Rangers' James Tavernier celebrates after the Ladbrokes Scottish Championship match at Ibrox Stadium
Rangers' James Tavernier celebrates after the Ladbrokes Scottish Championship match at Ibrox Stadium

The Light Blues went into this game all too aware that - following Saturday’s draw with Raith Rovers - victory was required to clinch the Championship title.

Mark Warburton made one change from Kirkcaldy with Billy King coming in for Michael O’Halloran.

Ibrox was packed to capacity in anticipation of a Light Blue procession - but it took a long time for the game to come to life - Harry Forrester’s fifteenth minute drive from the edge of the area being held by Sons’ goalkeeper Jamie Ewings.

Rangers were enjoying an almost total domination in terms of possession and territorial advantage - but a solid and hard-working visitors defence was denying them clear sight of goal - until that is just after the half-hour mark when a dipping 20 yard effort from Kenny Miller from a James Tavernier pass just cleared the crossbar.

Tavernier himself was not too far away four minutes later with a thundering 25-yarder that whistled just over - and before the break the full-back saw his dipping free-kick from out near the touchline touched over by Ewings.

Ewings again kept his side on level terms on the cusp of the interval when turning wide Andy Halliday’s 22-yard drive - but half-time arrived with the score-sheet blank.

Rangers upped the pace at the start of the second-half with Billy KIng’s volley from a Barrie McKay cutback blocked by Ewings.

Finally - at long, long last- the deadlock was broken on 50 minutes when a move on the right between Billy King and the outstanding Jason Holt cut open the Sons’ defence, Holt’s cutback being rifled home by James Tavernier.

Ibrox erupted - and Rangers went in for the kill with Tavernier almost making it a double, his header from a Forrester cross held by Ewings.

Michael O’Halloran replaced Barrie McKay just after the hour - but as if to underline that the game was far from over Christian Nade produced his side’s first effort on target of the night in the 72nd minute with a 25-yard volley that was held by Wes Foderingham at the second attempt.

Rangers should have long been out of sight - and O’Halloran almost made the game safe two minutes later when he created space for himself on the edge of the area before firing in a low right-foot shot that Ewings turned wide.

Dean Shiels substituted for Harry Forrester in 78 minutes and as Rangers looked to tie the Championship up with a second goal O’Halloran burst through on a Halliday pass only to see the outrushing Ewings deflect his shot wide.

A nervy closing five minutes ensued - but in truth Rangers were in total command even if the narrowness of the score line failed to reflect their superiority.

At the final whistle the Rangers team and management thanked the fans as the battle hymns resounded loud and long into the night.

Rangers: Foderingham; Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace; King, Holt, Forrester (Shiels 78), Halliday, McKay (O’Halloran 62); Miller (Clark 86)

Unused Subs: Bell, Law, Zelalem, Ball

Dumbarton: Ewings; Saunders, Buchanan, Wright, Docherty; Taggart, Waters (Cawley 66), Routledge, Lindsay (Gallagher 60), Fleming (McCallum 83); Nade

Unused Subs: Brown,Heffernan, Heh

Referee: Steven McLean