Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Queen of South 1 - 2 Rangers

Goals by Steven Naismith and substitute Nacho Novo against Queen of the South put Rangers through to the Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-finals.
In perfect conditions in front of a capacity crowd, the home side battled gamely and a Derek Holmes overhead kick demanded a top save by Neil Alexander.
Kris Boyd's low cross invited Naismith to side-foot home in 16 minutes, then Novo blasted a late second for Rangers.
Queens' Robert Harris curled in a great consolation goal in injury time.
Walter Smith sent out a strong team at Palmerston Park, mindful perhaps of the tough opposition Queens provided in the 2008 Scottish Cup Final but more likely limited in his options by the pruning to his squad brought about by financial necessity.
Rangers had the best of the first half hour, Steven Whittaker sounding a warning when he powered a header over the bar from a Jerome Rothen corner in 12 minutes.
With the Queens defence lining up in an advanced position in their own half, Pedro Mendes and Boyd combined for the opener for Rangers, the Portuguese midfielder cutting inside on the right flank and sending a reverse ball down the wing with the outside of his right boot.

Naismith's goal came during Rangers' best spell in the match
If it was an unusual sight to witness Boyd scampering in pursuit of Mendes's pass, the result was more familiar as his perfectly weighted low cross was met by Naismith to side-foot home from six yards.
A superb defensive challenge by David Lilley prevented Naismith from doubling his side's advantage after Mendes had released the Scotland striker in the inside-left channel.
Errors by David Weir were once collectors' items but a few have been creeping into his play recently.
The Ibrox captain made a slack defensive pass that was pounced on by Holmes but the Queens striker made a hash of his effort.
With "simulation" in the news in recent weeks, Boyd dived to the turf in the penalty box after a 50-50 challenge with Ludovic Roy midway through the first half.
The centre-forward's apologetic gesture to referee Willie Collum as he produced a yellow card told the story.
The Doonhamers had a number of chances towards the end of the opening period.
Pressure always on Rangers to win - Novo
Holmes won a challenge in midfield and released David Weatherston down the right wing. With Madjid Bougherra blocking his path to goal, Weatherston cut the ball inside for the advancing Holmes but the home side's number nine screwed his left-foot shot wide.
Ambition outweighed technique when Steven McKenna attempted a long-range shot which trundled by Neil Alexander's right-hand post and a good header by Holmes under pressure from Whittaker ought to have kept the SPL champions on their toes.
But Gordon Chisholm's side's best chance was yet to come and Weatherston will doubtless relive the moment that presented him with the chance to level the tie.
With five minutes to half-time he broke from the halfway line and beat Bougherra to the ball in time to send a lob over the head of the helpless Alexander, but he was grasping his head in exasperation seconds later as the ball bounced a yard wide.
And it was Weatherston who looked liveliest at the re-start when he and Holmes carved their way through the centre of Rangers defence, but Alexander, in for Allan McGregor, blocked the striker's shot with his feet.
Kevin Thomson interrupted 10 minutes of pressure from the First Division side when he thumped a left-foot shot on target from 25 yards which Roy tipped over, then Papac connected too thinly with a Rothen cross.
Yet the aggression and enthusiasm of the Doonhamers, backed by 4,000 of their fans in the sell-out crowd, meant the Ibrox side would have to fight to retain their one-goal advantage.
A dark moment for the home side was a serious injury to Steve Tosh, whose left ankle was forced into a horribly unnatural angle when his boot caught in the turf.
Tosh's replacement Rocco Quinn was presented with a chance to level moments after coming on, but he headed over the bar as he struggled to keep his balance.
There was a decidedly Gallic flavour to the next piece of action as Rothen's free-kick on to the head of Bougherra was tipped magnificently over the bar by Roy and the Queens stopper was alert to a downward header by Boyd soon after.
Harris was entrusted to provide troublesome deliveries from set pieces and his free-kick in the 72nd minute resulted in a tremendous overhead kick by Holmes which was saved by Alexander to give Queens their first corner of the match.
Rangers' decisive second was harsh on the Doonhamers, whose verve probably deserved an additional 30 minutes of play.
Super-sub Novo, with five minutes under his belt after his introduction for Rothen, was off and running when Steven Davis picked him out in the inside-right channel.
Racing into the box, he sized up the position of Roy and despatched the ball inside the post for his eighth goal in the League Cup for Rangers.
Former Ibrox youth player Harris will take a great deal of pleasure from his stunning goal in the 91st minute.
The Queens player picked up the ball at the edge of the box and his left-foot shot curled into the top corner of the net to set up a nervy last three minutes.
Queen of the South manager Gordon Chisholm: "Over the piece I thought we were unlucky, we acquitted ourselves very well.
Queens deserve credit - Chisholm
"I was disappointed at the goals we gave away. At 1-0 we started to impose ourselves on the game.
"The boys at the back are disappointed at both goals. We tried to step up and play offside and that is something we don't normally do.
"Credit to the boys. I have nothing but praise for them. I think we deserve a lot of credit.
"I thought the overall performance from them all and the effort was first class."
Rangers manager Walter Smith: "The first half hour of the match I thought we played very well. After that, Queens started to come in to the game.
Smith annoyed at late slackness
"We were pleased to get the second goal but in the second half I was disappointed with the slackness we had.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game. They set their team out well.
"When they came back into the game, the opportunities were a bit of untidy play from our point of view but you always give the opposition credit for taking advantage of anything that happens.
"In the end you're happy to come through what was always going to be a difficult cup tie."

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