RANGERS shrugged off the disappointment of double cup exits to get back to winning ways in Scottish League 1 as Ian Black, Bilel Mohsni and Dean Shiels struck in a 3-0 win over Forfar.
Scorers: Rangers - Black 67, Mohsni 75, Shiels 85
Weary Rangers make hard work of beating Loons in humdrum affair However, it was another weary display from Ally McCoist’s men as they struggled to overcome the Loons. They had to wait until the 68th minute for Black’s spectacular opener before Mohsni and Shiels added a shine to the score with a pair of headers. The Glasgow giants bore a hungover look following successive defeats to Ramsdens Cup final opponents Raith and Dundee United in Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final.
The third-tier champions had only their unbeaten league record to think of as they welcomed Dick Campbell’s side, and it ended up a drab affair for those who bothered turning out after last week’s disappointments. Keeper Steve Simonsen was back in the line-up despite tipping Saturday’s tie in United’s favour with a late howler. Deputising for the injured Cammy Bell, he gifted the ball to Nadir Ciftci in the build-up to the Taysider’s clinching third and was forced to close his Twitter account after he was targeted for abuse. The Loons, the only other team to beat McCoist’s side this season after August’s League Cup shocker, were undone when Black fired home from 30 yards out. And Rangers netted again as Mohsni nodded in from close range, while Shiels did the same from substitute Fraser Aird’s low cross five minutes from the end.
Rangers started brightly enough as Black had an early drive tipped over by Loons keeper Darren Hill, while Jon Daly nodded wide from the resulting corner. The onus was on the hosts to entertain their frustrated fans following those back-to-back defeats.
But yet again there was little to get the supporters out of their seats as the champions were soon toiling.
It was lacklustre stuff and summed up the dejected mood around a club still mired in off-field controversy. Nicky Clark did well to hold off Darren Dods and tee-up Daly after 28 minutes, but the Irishman rushed his shot and ballooned it over. Daly wasted his third chance soon after as Arnold Peralta did well to slide him in behind the Forfar defence but he sliced his shot a good six yards wide.
There was a loud groan when he made a mess of it again soon after as Nicky Law fed him inside the box, followed by an even angrier cry when referee Craig Charleston booked Shiels for diving a minute before half-time as he tumbled while going past Dods in the box. Stevie Smith, who netted against United with a free-kick, almost did the same against Forfar after 53 minutes but saw his set-piece pushed over by Hill.
Another Daly header sailed wide as Rangers began to look increasingly short on ideas, but then Black conjured a rare moment of quality to put his side ahead. Rangers worked the ball wide to Ricky Foster on the right, whose heavy touch drove him inside. The right-back picked his head up, though, and played the ball square to former Hearts midfielder Black, who smashed a 30-yard strike high past Hill. There was a relieved look about McCoist’s side after that and they grabbed a second seven minutes later when Mohsni headed into an empty net as Shiels’ cross came off the bar before dropping into his lap.
The third came with five minutes remaining when Shiels threw himself head long at Aird’s low cross into the box before connecting successfully with his head.
Rangers: Simonsen, Foster, McCulloch, Mohsni, S Smith, Peralta (Aird 74), Black (Hutton 85), Law, Clark (Crawford 87), Daly, Shiels. Subs Not Used: Emilson Cribari, Hegarty, Faure, S Gallagher.
Forfar: Hill, Baxter, Malcolm, Dods, I Campbell, Kader, Dale, Fusco (Malin 76), Hilson (Fotheringham 76), Duggan, Templeman (Ross Campbell 76). Subs Not Used: McLelland, Andrews, Gibson, Salmon