RANGERS were held to a draw by a team full of Dunfermline kids, but manager Ally McCoist paid tribute to his side after going through the entire League One campaign unbeaten.
Dunfermline Athletic 1 - 1 Rangers
East End Park
Scorers: Dumfermline: Shield 46, Rangers: Martin 71
McCoist’s side may have lost their 100 per cent record away from Ibrox as Jim Jefferies’ side prepared for this week’s play-offs with Stranraer by resting an entire side. However, they had adequate consolation knowing that they became the first Rangers side since 1899 to complete a league campaign undefeated.
Picking up 102 points from a possible 108 is an impressive feat at any level, although they haven’t received much in the way of praise this season. McCoist was having none of that, though, and insisted his players could be proud of their efforts.
He said: “The most important thing from our point of view was to get through the game without defeat because we wanted to go through the entire league season undefeated.
“I’ve just said to the boys and the staff that I am unbelievably proud of them. They probably won’t realise it tonight, they probably won’t realise it tomorrow, but when they look back a good few years down the line, they should be extremely proud of themselves.
“It’s a massive achievement because you can only beat the opposition that is put in front of you. And I actually think the fact that we had only three draws out of 36 tells you a lot as well. We maybe carried a bit of fortune in one or two games, but if someone had said to us right at the start we would go though the whole season undefeated I certainly wouldn’t have thought that was possible. So we’ll let others have their say about what kind of an achievement it is, but without doubt it is an achievement.”
Young winger Fraser Aird echoed: “I think it’s an unbelievable achievement. If you had told us at the start of the year that we would go through the season undefeated, we would have bit your arm off. To go through the season unbeaten is fantastic for us and we are all delighted.”
Dunfermline fielded just three players over the age of 21 and two of those were player-coaches John Potter and Craig Dargo at 34 and 36! But Jefferies was delighted by the way his young side responded to facing Rangers.
He said: “I am very proud of the young players and it has given me one or two ideas for Wednesday’s play-off. The players’ heads could easily have gone down after they scored, but they kept going and deserved the goal.”
Dean Shiels netted just 34 seconds into the second half after Nicky Law had two shots blocked, before Lewis Martin equalised with a free header from a corner 19 minutes from time.
But Rangers – whose fans held aloft red cards to protest about their under-fire board – held on to complete the season unbeaten.
BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon
THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.
The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.
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