STENHOUSEMUIR became only the second side in League One to stop Rangers winning this season as they left Ibrox with a deserved point.
SCORERS: Rangers - Law 36, McMillan 69 (og), Daly 72; Stenhousemuir - Dickson 16, Higgins 58, 75 pen
Ally McCoist’s men may have crashed through the 100-goal barrier yesterday, but they were a long way from their best against a side they hammered 8-0 earlier in the season.
And they twice had to come from behind against Stenny, who had not won in their past seven games. Sean Dickson and Sean Higgins had netted for the visitors, before Nicky Law and Fraser Aird equalised. Rangers thought they had won it when Jon Daly headed home, but were stunned by the award of a penalty to Stenny, which was converted by Higgins.
Law admitted afterwards that Rangers had under-performed. He said: “We can’t concede three goals at home to anyone and expect to win the game. We’ve got to look at ourselves – three crosses into our box and three goals. It’s not good enough from everyone. It was just sloppy from us. It was a needless penalty to give away when we had just managed to get back in the lead. We should really see the game out.
“We should be wiping the floor with teams at home and that is not being disrespectful to the other teams. We’ve got players who are too good for this level and we shouldn’t be drawing at home and most certainly not losing three goals at home.”
McCoist was unhappy at two penalty decisions – a first-half one that wasn’t awarded for his side when David Templeton was caught by Sean Lynch in the box, but was instead booked for diving, and for that late award to the visitors.
He complained: “I thought the referee got both penalty decisions wrong. Templeton’s one was just madness, especially that fact that he was also booked for diving. It looked a stonewall penalty. It was extremely harsh not to get the penalty but even worse that Templeton was punished for a crime we felt he didn’t commit. What did I think of the referee’s overall performance? I’d rather not say.
“Their penalty was apparently for a tug by Emilson Cribari but I’ve seen the incident again and I have to say he’s one of very few referees who would give that award.”
Rangers were stunned when Stenny scored with their first attack of the game in the 15th minute. Sean Dickson was afforded too much room to bring the cross down on his chest before rifling a low shot past Cammy Bell into the net.
After Templeton had missed an open goal, Rangers equalised in the 36th minute. Andy Little galloped down the left and cut the ball inside to Templeton who spotted Law rushing into the box, who curled a super effort into the corner of the net.
However, Stenhousemuir regained the lead in the 58th minute when Sean Lynch delivered a peach of a cross and Higgins was unmarked as he powered home his header.
Rangers got their second leveller in the 68th minute, but they had a huge slice of good fortune about it when Fraser Aird’s shot from the edge of the box took a huge deflection off unlucky Stenny stopper Stewart Greacen and wrong-footed Chris Smith as the ball trickled into the net.And they finally took the lead in the 72nd minute after Daly headed home an Aird corner, with the Stenny players complaining at the award of the corner in the first place.
Incredibly though, Stenhousemuir equalised three minutes later as the ref adjudged Cribari had fouled David Rowson in the box after a corner. Higgins rattled home the penalty.
Caretaker Ochilview boss Brown Ferguson said: “The effort levels throughout the 90 minutes were exceptional. We go back to the game when we came here and got beaten 8-0, there was a lot of that sitting there with the players. Regardless of what the score was, the objective was to compete for the 90 minutes and we did that. Credit to them for coming away with a fantastic point.
“There was a point to prove, not to ourselves, but to everybody at the club and our supporters. I’m delighted for everybody.”
Rangers: Bell; Faure (Foster 45), McCulloch, Cribari, Wallace; Aird, Law, Black, Templeton; Daly, Little (Shiels 85). Subs not used: Simonsen, Crawford, Smith, Peralta, Telfer.
Stenhousemuir: C Smith; Devlin, McMillan, Greacen, Malone; Lynch, Hodge, Rowson (D Smith 74), Dickson (Watt 83), McKinlay; Higgins. Subs not used: Shaw, McNeil, Douglas, Brash, Nimmo.
Referee: G Aitken. Attendance: 41,794.