ON A day when Rangers were twice pegged back, manager Ally McCoist said he believed there was still plenty more to come from David Templeton this season if he can avoid injury.
Rangers 3-2 Arbroath
Scorers: Rangers - Daly (21), Templeton (72), McCulloch (78pen); Arbroath - Banjo (2), Linn (50)
The winger came off the bench to find the back of the net in a 3-2 win over Arbroath at Ibrox, having also made a scoring impact as a substitute in last Monday’s win at Forfar.
The former Hearts man has endured injury problems throughout his time at Rangers, but, according to the manager, still has the potential to play his way back into the side.
McCoist said: “An on-form David Templeton would play in most teams in the country.
“We have to be fair to him, he has struggled with injury, this season in particular. He hasn’t managed to get together a level of fitness that has allowed him to play continually for a longer period of time.
“Certainly, if he can keep himself fit, there’s lot more of what we saw today and on Monday in his tank that he can show us. I said to Temps after the game that I thought he was absolutely terrific when he came on.
“He gave us another boost. He scored a great goal and hit the post – a real integral part of the win was Templeton coming on.
“We all know he has got the ability to change games and win games for us and today, after Monday, will do him no harm at all.”
Rangers were twice forced to fight back from behind to claim the points, with goals from Jon Daly and Templeton cancelling out strikes from David Banjo and Bobby Linn. Skipper Lee McCulloch then claimed the decisive goal from the penalty spot after Daly was felled in the box.
McCoist said: “We were really made to work for the win. We lost two poor goals. The first one was a real disappointment early on and the second one was arguably worse right at the start of the second half.
“I said to the lads at half-time that for the vast majority of the game they played really well.
“I thought they knocked the ball about and showed a lot of spirit and they worked very hard for each other. We created a lot of openings and we had a few chances to score. We probably put ourselves under pressure with the two goals we lost, which was uncharacteristic of us to lose those types of goals. But it was another great day for us and another three points.”
Rangers announced on Friday evening that finance director Brian Stockbridge – an unpopular figure with the fans – had left the club by mutual consent, but McCoist refused to be drawn on his exit. He said: “The club have released a statement and I wouldn’t say anything further on it.”
Arbroath boss Paul Sheerin, who was unhappy with the penalty award, said: “I’m proud, but ultimately we have lost the game, so it is pointless being proud when you lose football matches. I think everybody gets caught up in this thing about going to Ibrox or Celtic Park that you’re the smaller club, which is rightly so, but we set up to win any football match, whether we train for four hours or 40 hours a week.”
For Ranges, goalkeeper Cammy Bell reclaimed the gloves – despite an impressive display from stand-in Steve Simonsen at Forfar on Monday – after the regular number one missed the last match due to the birth of his daughter. Ian Black was also back in the starting line-up after returning from suspension, but Arnold Peralta had to settle for a place on the bench after serving his own ban.
Arbroath had shipped eight goals – with just one in reply – in two previous meetings with Rangers this season. But they had managed to open the scoring in a 5-1 defeat on their last visit to Ibrox and it was deja vu as the Red Lichties surged into the lead again on this occasion.
The match was just two minutes old when Alan Cook’s cross from the left found Banjo in far too much space and he was able to dispatch into the back of the net at the back post.
The home side levelled on 21 minutes. It was Black who started the move when he released Wallace down the left flank and he cut back for Daly to stroke past the goalkeeper.
It was Arbroath who had the net bulging again after 50 minutes when a McCulloch mistake allowed Linn to break free of the Gers defence and unleash a shot that came off the inside of the far post and trundled over the line.
It replacement Templeton who hauled Rangers back into the game with the second equaliser of the day after 72 minutes when he forced his way into the box before drilling low past Morrison.
McCoist’s men then took the lead for good with 12 minutes to go when Daly was felled in the box and McCulloch stepped up to convert the resultant spot-kick.