The Third Division league leaders had referee Kevin Clancy to thank after the referee ruled a perfectly good goal for Stuart Garden’s Montrose side out, after what was described as a foul against goalkeeper Neil Alexander. However, replays proved that the goal scored by Martin Boyle, should have stood as Alexander was fouled by his own team-mate.
It was the second straight week that Rangers failed to win, and the second straight week in which Rangers’ performance can be called into question as they look to take one more step towards securing the league title. Today’s result means that Ally McCoist’s side have now just won two of their last six league games.
Montrose will be pleased with securing a point against the league leaders, but will certainly be disappointed with the referee’s decision to ruled out a perfectly good goal by Boyle, which could have given them all three points and closed the gap on second placed Queens Park to just three points as they push for a play-off spot.
David Templeton was Rangers’ main threat in the first half, as he tested John Gibson with a volley before seeing another shot deflected out of play.
Templeton then set up Lee Wallace to have a chance for the league leaders, but Gibson was again in fine form as he managed to get a glove to the ball and tip it onto the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
Montrose eventually settled down and fought their way into the game. Their first clear-cut chance came from Jamie Winter whose long-range shot was saved by Alexander.
Boyle then should have done better with Montrose’s next chance as he latched onto a Stephen McNally cross, but he could only head wide, when he really should have hit the target.
Montrose started the better of the two sides in the second half, with David Gray firing a powerful strike just over the bar. But Rangers were soon to be again denied by Gibson in the Montrose goal as a shot from Kane Hemming’s was saved superbly.
And then the moment of controversy, Neil Alexander blocked a Terry Masson volley just before Boyle fired the ball into the back of the Rangers net sparking celebrations among the home fans and the home dugout. But referee Kevin Clancy blew his whistle for an infringement by Gary Wood on Alexander, however a replay showed that a Rangers defender had obstructed the keeper from getting to the ball rather than Wood, thus ruling out a perfectly good goal.
Alexander was tested again soon after as Montrose continued to dominate play, this time through a Winter’s free kick. For all the attacking threat on the pitch, Rangers for the second week in a row, were poor going forward in the closing stages of the game and threatened the Montrose goal very little, the only chance coming through Emilson Cribari, but his overhead shot was comfortably gathered by Gibson.
Montrose set up a tense finish for the Rangers fans as they were awarded a free kick just outside the box in injury time, but Paul Watson’s free kick was tame and Alexander saved.
Rangers could still secure the Third Division title if Queens Park lose at home to Elgin City today. Otherwise Rangers will have to travel to Hampden next week to secure title with a win over the Spiders.
After the match Rangers manager Ally McCoist, speaking to the official Rangers website, said: “I thought first 25 minutes was our best period of the game and that’s when we could have and should have scored. We had some decent opportunities during this time but things went a bit flat after that. The positive thing is that it was our third clean sheet in a row but the disappointing aspect is that we did not create nearly enough in the second half.
“We effectively had three up front with Templeton and Crawford playing wide of Hemmings but they ended up a bit deep at times. We do have the option of putting Lee McCulloch up front but he settles us down at the back and Emilson looks a lot more comfortable as does Chris Hegarty.
“We just want to get over the line. Of course we wanted to win the game but that point might just win us the league. I can understand the frustration from everybody – and we are just as frustrated – but we can only play with the cards we have been dealt. It’s a disappointment when you don’t get the results you want but that’s when you have to work very hard to turn things around. We have had two goal-less draws which is disappointing but we are one point closer to the Championship.”
Montrose: Gibson, McNally, Campbell, McDonald (Leighton McIntosh 90), Watson, Masson, David Gray (Lloyd Young 63), Winter (Richard McIntosh 85), Johnston, Boyle, Garry Wood. Subs Not Used: Sandy Wood, McCord.
Rangers: Alexander, Hegarty, Emilson Cribari, McCulloch, Wallace, Faure, Crawford (McKay 58), Black, Hutton, Templeton, Hemmings (Naismith 69). Subs Not Used: Smith, Argyriou, Aird.
Ref: Kevin Clancy