Lewis Macleod fires Rangers to win over Inverness

ALLY McCoist has come to 
accept that there are things going on at Rangers that he simply cannot influence. But, when it comes to onfield matters, he says he can still affect the mood of the fans. Last night he sent them home smiling and somewhat relieved, having outfoxed Premiership opposition and 
advanced to the third round of the League Cup.

Nicky Clark, left, and Darren McGregor, right, congratulate matchwinner Lewis Macleod. Picture: Getty
Nicky Clark, left, and Darren McGregor, right, congratulate matchwinner Lewis Macleod. Picture: Getty

It took a 78th-minute goal from a Lewis Macleod strike which was deflected into his own net by Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Josh Meekings to separate the sides, but the Rangers manager insisted his men had always looked the more likely to score.

“I don’t think anyone could grudge us that but we did get a bit of a break with the goal, with the deflection, but it was great result for us and one that was thoroughly deserved.

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“Inverness play good football but we felt that we would get chances and it was just a matter of taking them.”

Nicky Clark, left, and Darren McGregor, right, congratulate matchwinner Lewis Macleod. Picture: Getty

Macleod was the man who made the intervention that mattered in the end, much to delight of his gaffer. “We asked him at the start of the season to contribute more in terms of goals and assists and he has certainly given us that.” It was the 20-year-old’s fifth goal of the season so far.

“It was a good level of intelligence to keep switched on when one or two of the boys were claiming for the handball. But he kept his wits about him and he has a very mature head on young shoulders.”

Happy to be in the next round, McCoist said he wouldn’t be reading too much into the fact that progress was made at the expense of a team from a higher division. “This doesn’t tell us anything. It’s great we won the game but if we had been beaten 1-0 it would have been no different, we still know we have a long way to go. But this shows in a cup game or a one off game, we feel we can take on anyone.”

For Caley manager John Hughes, there was only disappointment. Acknowledging that things had been nip and tuck, he said the substitutions had been influential, opening up the game and giving Rangers the edge. “It is disappointing because we got to the final last year and the excitement and pride that brought to the club, we wanted to taste that again. We were well in the game. Rangers weren’t any better than us. In terms of playing football and ball retention I felt we were the better team.”