THE Rangers defence must start taking responsibility for their continued inability to deal with crosses, full-back Lee Wallace has warned.
The Ibrox club were held to another shock result by Irn-Bru Third Division minnows Stirling on Tuesday as they threw away a first-half lead to draw 1-1.
Andy Little had put Ally McCoist’s men ahead with his 22nd strike of the season but Albion – who stunned Rangers in October when they became the only team to beat them on league duty this term – levelled six minutes after half-time through Ross Forsyth’s header.
The goal was teed up by midfielder Kieran McAnespie’s whipped free-kick as Albion capitalised on the Light Blues’ softness at set-pieces.
Those frailties were also exposed in the team’s 3-1 weekend win over Berwick as Anestis Argyriou was forced to put through his own goal as he failed to deal with the hosts’ quality corner deliveries, while Dundee United showed up the Ibrox defence in last month’s William Hill Scottish Cup tie.
Scotland international Wallace insists enough is enough. He said: “It’s hugely disappointing, considering we do a lot of work on it. The manager spends a lot of time on the training field on that in particular, wide-area free-kicks. And the one message he [McCoist] did give us at the start of the game was not to give away cheap free-kicks. But we did that on more than one occasion and obviously that led to the goal.
“We have all just got to take more responsibility, all of us in that line. It’s something we will have to try and rectify asap.
“We have done a lot of work on it. There is a lot of detail put into it. We do a lot of video as well. We know what these guys are capable of. It was similar to Berwick. Lee Currie had a good left foot and it was the same at Stirling. We know that, if we give away stupid fouls, they have a great chance of scoring.”
Even with the two points dropped, Rangers still boast a 20-point lead at the table summit over second-placed Queen’s Park. But Wallace admits even that does not distract from the players’ disappointment at their performance against Albion.
He said: “The result is a real frustration. It’s a bit gutting and it wasn’t a great dressing room after the game. It felt like a defeat. We went there hoping to win the game.
“In the first half, I thought we played quite well. We were quite fluent in our passing, played to quite a quick tempo and limited their chances.
“Andy Little scored a great goal while I had one later in the half that I maybe should have done better with. We went into the second half but it wasn’t the same really. We didn’t play with the same fluency we did in the first half and they kind of took over, to be honest.”