Stenhousemuir 0-1 Rangers: Daly puts Gers in final

Jon Daly rises above Chris Smith to head in the winner. Picture: SNS
Jon Daly rises above Chris Smith to head in the winner. Picture: SNS
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Rangers booked their place in the final of the Ramsdens Cup in unconvincing style after scraping a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir last night.

Scorer: Rangers - Daly (74)

The Ibrox club may be hot favourites to win the trophy but they made hard work of the last- four tie at Ochilview.

A second-half goal by Jon Daly – who netted a hat-trick at the weekend – was all that separated the two sides on the night.

The slim victory was in stark contrast to the 8-0 thrashing Rangers handed out to Stenhousemuir in a Scottish League One match at Ibrox last month.

This time around, the best of the chances fell to Arnold Peralta and Nicky Law, who were both denied by the woodwork, before Daly netted the decisive goal with just over 15 minutes to go.

Rangers will contest the silverware with Raith Rovers on 6 April at a venue yet to be decided, with Ibrox, Celtic Park and Easter Road having all been mooted as possible alternatives to Hampden, which is unavailable due to Commonwealth Games preparations.

Rangers – who named an unchanged side from the one which defeated East Fife 4-0 at the weekend – started brightly. Referee Bobby Madden had a big call to make after just six minutes when Daly went to ground under pressure from Ross McMillan.

Despite the Irishman’s furious protests, there was no penalty award from the match official.

Daly then brushed himself off to have a go with a shot from the edge of the area that was smothered by Chris Smith in the Stenny goal.

The home side were forced to make their first change after 14 minutes when Bryan Hodge limped off to be replaced by Brown Ferguson.

Rangers kept up the pressure and Daly turned provider when he nodded down for Nicky Clark but his snap-shot was claimed by Smith.

At the other end, Stenhousemuir had the chance to crank up the heat on their visitors with a free kick just outside the box only for Sean Higgins to blast well over.

Rangers still looked more likely to open the scoring and Peralta saw a ferocious shot smash off the crossbar, before Law nodded wide from the rebound.

Moments later, Law was also denied by the woodwork when his own effort crashed off the bar, as the tie remained goalless with half-time approaching.

Stenhousemuir emerged for the second half looking more dangerous and Cammy Bell was called into action to block from Ferguson.

The Warriors then squandered a great chance to take the lead just after the hour mark.

Bell raced off his line in an attempt to close down Ferguson, who slid into the path of Darren Smith and he somehow failed to hit the target with the gaping net at his mercy.

Rangers made their first change after 65 minutes, with Peralta making way for the introduction of David Templeton.

Clark was then swapped for Andy Little before Rangers eventually opened the scoring after 74 minutes.

Goalkeeper Smith attempted to gather a long ball from the left by Bilel Mohsni but instead allowed Daly to nip in and nod into the back of the net.

Law then unleashed a shot that flashed across goal and wide of the post as Rangers tried to end any hopes of a Stenny comeback.

Skipper Lee McCulloch saw his header skim the crossbar with a couple of minutes to go, as the Ibrox side held on for the narrow win.

Stenhousemuir: Chris Smith, Devlin, Malone, McMillan, McKinlay, Rowson, Hodge (Ferguson 14), Dickson, Lynch, Darren Smith, Higgins (Douglas 84). Subs not used: McNeil, Ross Smith, Shaw.

Rangers: Bell, Foster, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace, Peralta (Templeton 66), Black, Law, Macleod, Clark (Little 74), Daly. Subs not used: Simonsen, Hutton, Faure.

Referee: B Madden

Attendance: 2,338