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Rangers 1-0 Accies, Sunday 16th December

 

Accies website reporter Mark Gillespie was at Ibrox…

Ladbrokes Premiership
Rangers 1 Hamilton Academical 0
Sunday 16th December 2018
Ibrox Stadium Glasgow, kick off 3pm

We went down to a 2nd minute goal at Ibrox, and while Rangers had plenty chances thereafter, and Gary Woods had a superb save from Kyle Lafferty in the second half (for those of a certain age, not dissimilar to Dave McKellar’s from Colin West in 1987!), but we defended well and had a couple of wee opportunities in the latter stages, McMann having a shot saved, and a couple of threatening Keatings free kicks, it finished 1-0.

We were missing Scott Martin, who was suspended, plus Mickel Miller and Mason Bloomfield, who were both unwell.

After a fifth defeat in six games we remain in 10th spot, still four points ahead of Dundee and St Mirren below us.  A 2nd minute strike by Daniel Candeias was enough to return the Glasgow side to the top courtesy of goal difference.

Accies fans might have feared the worst as Rangers made yet another blistering start at home. But we held them at bay and showed a better second half resolve to frustrate the hosts and their expectant support.

A couple of top drawer stops from Gary Woods even brought hopes of snatching an unlikely point, but in the end Accies couldn’t craft a meaningful opportunity to trouble Alan McGregor at the other end.

Martin Canning had no complaints about the result, but thought his players acquitted themselves well after a tough opening 15 minutes.

“It was a horrendous start from us. I thought we were nervous, maybe understandably given the form we are in.  But I was pleased with the response from the players. In the second half we were more competitive. I thought we defended our box really well from a lot of set pieces and crosses.”

“The plan was to stay in the game long enough to give ourselves a chance, while they got a bit nervy. Woodsy’s kept us in it with an important save from Lafferty in the second half. That extra goal might have allowed Rangers to relax and score more.”

“All I can ask is that we go and compete against top players, and not stand off them. We did that at least in the second half today, but didn’t do enough to take anything from the game.”

We made the single change from last weekend’s defeat to Hibs, as Scott McMann returned to the starting line up. Mickel Miller missed out due to illness. Both first team keepers have had their injury concerns of late, but Gary Woods was fit to start.

Rangers made three changes from their midweek defeat in Vienna, with Grezda, Candeias and Lafferty replacing Middleton, Coulibaly and Morelos in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

We were under the cosh almost from kick off, Gary Woods quick off is line to block a Lafferty run out wide. Tavernier then worked a short corner and Lafferty somehow missed with a header from one yard out.

It only delayed Rangers by two minutes though, as Accies invited another wave of pressure. This time Grezda linked up with Lafferty to pick out Candeias for a low finish low past Woods.

Rangers continued to move the ball forward quickly, with Accies looking shaky. There was another narrow escape after a scramble in the box on 21 minutes, Ziggy Gordon blocking another Candeias effort on the goal line.

It was already a busy afternoon for Gary Woods, as he first tipped a Grezda effort around the post two minutes later, and punched over a Barasic corner as the one way traffic continued.

But Accies rode the early onslaught to just about stay in the game, and reach half time just a goal in arrears.

There was a little more work to do before the break, Darian MacKinnon taking one for the team, and receiving a yellow for a pull on Ryan Jack on 40 minutes. Woods then parried a McAuley  header from the resulting free kick to keep second half hopes alive.

The home crowd grew restless as Rangers toiled in the second 45 for a decisive second goal. Lafferty found the side netting from a Grezda cross on 50 minutes, as Accies kept their shape without really being able to press upfield.

We had a first venture forwards on 53 minutes as Scott McMann burst down the Rangers right. His shot across the box was an easy hold for Alan McGregor, but Accies were at least sowing a few seeds of doubt in Rangers minds.

Lafferty thought he finally put us to the sword on 64 minutes as Goldson flicked on in the box, but once again Gary Woods was the hero to somehow turn the point blank header around the post. Even the Rangers striker had to congratulate the Accies keeper for his stunning stop.

Woods was rooted to the spot as Arfield fired inches wide from the edge of the D on 77 minutes. We were still in this game as the hosts struggled to close it out. Accies made a few switches to try and salvage something.

Keatings had a few nice touches, a delightful flick found sending Freddy Brustad clean through wide of goal, but his cross couldn’t pick put a team mate on 79 minutes.

A frustrated and tired looking Rangers just couldn’t close things out as the game opened up. Accies went for it in the closing 10, but couldn’t take advantage and the hosts had to settle for that narrowest of victories.

 

Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Jack, Lafferty, McCrorie (Middleton, 58 ), Candeias (Halliday, 74),Barasic, Grezda, McAuley, Arfield; Subs Unused: Foderingham, Worrall, Flanagan, Coulibaly, Dallas

Rangers  Goals: Candeias, 2′

Accies: Woods, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Kilgallon (Penny, 88 ), Imrie, Bingham (Brustad, 73), Keatings, Taiwo (Boyd, 80), MacKinnon (c), Sowah; Subs Unused: Marsden, Tshiembe, Want, Monlouis

Accies Cautions: MacKinnon, 39, Taiwo, 66

 

Referee: Euan Anderson; Assistants: Alan Mulvanny and Andy Milne 4th Official: Andrew Dallas

 

Attendance: 49,055

 

 

 

 

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