ALLY McCOIST explained after a narrow win at Gayfield that he is hoping young midfielder Lewis Macleod will be able to make a full recovery from a virus that has affected muscles surrounding his heart.
SCORERS: Arbroath - McManus 61; Rangers - Daly 19, Aird 87
Rangers struggled badly against bottom-of-the-table Arbroath, but maintained their perfect league away record thanks to Fraser Aird’s winner with three minutes left, after Paul McManus had cancelled out an earlier Jon Daly strike.
But the win was overshadowed by reports on talented Scotland under-21 prospect Macleod’s illness.
The Ibrox manager, though, was confident Macleod, who has been suffering from a virus and hasn’t played since January, will soon be on the mend.
He said: “Lewis has had an uncommon reaction to a common virus, which is affecting his internal muscles. Some of the muscles around his heart are being affected as well. It’s nothing more sinister than that.
“He’s getting the best care and attention. You don’t mess about with these things until he is 100 per cent right. He’s seeing the top people but we are quite happy with the way things are going, with the way he is improving. But until he gets the go-ahead for full-time training we will listen to the people who know what they are talking about.”
And his fellow midfielder, Kyle Hutton, backed Macleod to bounce back soon. Hutton said: “I am just wishing him all the best and hope he gets some good news soon.
“It’s always a shock when the heart is involved, especially when you hear of players like Fabrice Muamba, it’s a shock. But he’s a sensible boy and he’s got a lot of people helping him. I’m sure he will come through it and he will be fine.”
Rangers were further demoralised by an injury to Daly, who limped off with a hamstring problem in injury time after earlier netting his 25th goal of the season. The League One champions are already sweating on the fitness of Ian Black, Nicky Law, David Templeton and Andy Little for their next two crucial weeks when they face Raith Rovers in the Ramsdens Cup final and Dundee United in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
The last thing they need is a Daly hamstring injury and McCoist admitted: “It’s another one to sweat over. He’s felt his hamstring go a bit tight and the doctors are looking at him. We won’t be able to assess it properly for another 24 to 48 hours. It would be a major blow if he was to be ruled out, but I can’t really say if that would happen as I’d be guessing. We got him off though before he could do any serious damage.”
As for the action, Rangers were desperately poor again on the road, but once again got the points. Daly outjumped the home defence to nod Fraser Aird’s corner into the net in the 18th minute and the visitors twice hit the woodwork through an Aird effort and a Michael Travis header against his own bar.
However, Rangers absolutely gifted Arbroath the equaliser in the 61st minute thanks to a total howler by Sebastien Faure.
Inexplicably, the French defender tried to head the ball back to goalkeeper Cammy Bell and appeared not to notice McManus lurking behind him.
The striker had the simple task of slotting the ball under the completely exposed Bell to level matters and spark an enquiry among Rangers players as to just why Faure took a rush of blood to the head.
But the visitors won it with three minutes left when sub Calum Gallagher’s cross was turned across goal by Daly and Aird was on hand to poke the ball in from close range to snatch a win.
Arbroath player-manager Paul Sheerin said: “I couldn’t have asked any more from the players.
“It speaks volumes for the way we performed that they were really hanging on and we could have had the draw that we deserved.”