Alloa 3-2 Rangers: Wasps late show shocks Gers

Alloa's Greig Spence (9) scores his second of the night to put his side 3-2 ahead. Picture: SNS

Alloa's Greig Spence (9) scores his second of the night to put his side 3-2 ahead. Picture: SNS

258
Have your say

EVEN by his own ignominious cup standards, the fate that befell Ally McCoist and his Rangers team as they were beaten by Alloa in last night’s Petrofac Training Cup semi-final has no equal. Two goals up with 17 minutes of regulation time remaining, the subsequent humbling they were given by their part-time opponents was scarcely ­believable.

Scorers: Alloa - Spence (72, 89) McCord (74); Rangers - Miller (49), Shiels (64)

Alloa manager Barry Smith said beforehand that a first success for his club over their Ibrox opponents would represent the biggest win in the history of one of the Scottish game’s perpetually overlooked. The astonishing feat the Alloa players provided for their manager and fans means they will not be overlooked in the coming days.

Rangers seemed to have a final place in the bag after goals from Kenny Miller and Dean Shiels early in the second period. Instead, the impossible task it seemed to leave Alloa with inspired them to produce one of the most spectacular cup comebacks that means questions will once again be asked of McCoist’s management. Last night ensured the club have failed in three attempts to win a Challenge Cup largely populated by teams with 1/25th of their budget.

Alloa striker Greig Spence made a mockery of these differentials. His 93rd-minute winner was the product of a sumptuous finish, the forward opening his body to plant a side-footed effort into the corner after he met a left-hand cross first-time delivered by Steven Hetherington.

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN

Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

It was Spence who breathed new life into Alloa’s seemingly moribund semi-final challenge when he capitalised on some horrendous defending to knock in an easy header at the front post after no Rangers defender had dealt with a Mark Docherty centre. That was in the 73rd minute. Two minutes later, the Ibrox backline seemed to endure collective brain freeze to allow Ryan McCord to sweep in an Eddie Ferns cross.

Alloa would not have been the first team Rangers would have chosen for any cup adventure. The Ibrox men are the only fellow second-tier team not to have beaten them at some point this season, their previous two meetings ending 1-1.

Smith had downplayed the prospects of his part-timers preventing Rangers obtaining the outcome they desired for a third successive meeting. He bemoaned the fact that a midweek staging of the semi-final meant his players required to come straight from their works to play such an important occasion. It resulted in some of his squad arriving at what will always be known as Recreation Park to many just 70 minutes before the 7.30pm kick-off.

With injury and illness afflicting his squad – only four substitutes were listed for the home side – Smith also pointed out that he had players that required to climb out their sick beds to play in what he considered as a major occasion in their careers.

But in the first period Alloa showed the commitment and appetite that suggested the home side valued the opportunity last night presented. Rangers did not have a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes. Their cause was not helped by the loss of Lewis Macleod after only ten minutes, the midfielder removed from the field on a stretcher after dropping to the ground clutching his hamstring.

Shortly after, Spence had a chance to put his team in front after a headed knockdown from a free-kick resulted in the ball flashing across the box. Spence was caught on his heels, though, and failed to connect.

Spence and strike partner Liam Buchanan caused several uncomfortable moments for the Rangers backline before the break. Spence slashed a shot wide from outside the box when he had wriggled free of the attentions of Bilel Mohsni – not a rare sight during the period.

But Rangers took the lead after only three minutes of the second half. A free-kick from Kris Boyd thumped in low proved too venomous for keeper Craig McDowall to hold, and that allowed Kenny Miller to drive in from ten yards.

From that point Rangers looked as if they would take charge, with McDowall required to dive sharply to his right to push away a fierce effort from Darren McGregor.

It was no surprise when the Ibrox side added a second, Shiels sending a low curling past the home keeper after 64 minutes. What was a surprise up there with the sun failing to come up, was everything that happened in the semi-final thereafter.

Alloa Athletic: McDowall; Gordon, Doyle, Benedictus, Gordon, Meggatt; Asghar (Ferns 68), McCord, Docherty, Hetherington, Spence, Buchanan. Subs: Hynd, Wilson, Forsyth, Gibson.

Rangers: Simonsen; McGregor, McCulloch, Mohsni, Foster; Miller, Aird (Templeton 80), Law, Black, Macleod (Shiels 10), Miller, Boyd (Daly 68). Subs: Clark, Faure, Hutton, Robinson.

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN

Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Back to the top of the page