Rangers grind out win with a moment of class

Posted by John Gow

Before the match Ally McCoist said that the last time his team played Berwick away it was as bad a performance as the Light Blues have given all season. This time there was an improvement, if only because of a 3-1 win.

As so often happens this season, Rangers started the match slower than the opposition and were punished with a 1-0 deficit before they had decided to get going.

With Brazilian Emilson Cribari missing the game through illness, it came to Ross Perry to team up with Chris Hegarty in the centre of defence. This is an area that has been a big problem for Rangers all season and it was no real surprise to see them leaking goals again. This time it came from a corner in which the ball bounced off a hapless and unusually unsettled Anestis Argyriou to hit the back of the net for the English side to go ahead.

Unfortunately, the rest of the match wasn't much better for the Light Blues except in scoring more goals and winning the game. Of course that is the point of the sport, so it's all you really need, but with the type of players Rangers had compared with Berwick, the fans are looking for more.

After the match, the Rangers boss said that he knew it would be more of a battle than a football performance before a ball was kicked and wasn't too concerned, which is surprising since good football will always beat battlers as long as they can match the intensity of the opposition. But then, McCoist knows that this team is a make-shift one designed to see the club promoted and nothing else. If true, he can hardly say it publicly so maybe that is his reasoning.

The first reply from Rangers was a penalty from Dean Shiels after being clipped in the penalty area and the third was a side-footed clincher from Sebastian Faure just outside the six-yard box, after the ball was initially cleared off the line. But it was the second that showed how high the standard could be from some of these players.

A throw-in from Lee Wallace was flicked by David Templeton onto Shiels near the left wing goal line. Going nowhere, he kept possession and knocked it back to Wallace again who flighted over a cross to the deadly Andy Little. With still much work to do, he struck home a waist high volley with his left foot into the top corner. It was a thing of beauty and from an otherwise disappointing day, showed what the players are capable of doing.

One of the weaknesses of any writer is using a particular word too much without realising, and as it has been used before, this will be the last time 'deadly' shall describe exploits of the Northern Irish striker. However, it's obviously a compliment that such a term is the first word that comes to mind for Little. And if he keeps taking chances as Rangers go through the leagues, then he might be good enough for the top division. It might not work out like that, but today's finish would have graced any match in the world.

Overall, except for the aforementioned goal, it was no more than 'job done' in the English town and another step forward to winning the title sometime in March. Nothing more, nothing less.

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