Football: Petrie takes advantage

Rangers 1 Van Bronckhorst 16 Dunfermline Athletic 1 Petrie 76 Attendance: 47,465
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The Independent Online
MAYBE Dick Advocaat knew what was right when he asked for this match to be called off in advance of the trip to Parma on Tuesday. The Rangers coach wanted a postponement to aid his side's physical well-being for the Uefa Cup tie, but he cannot have imagined the mental baggage the Premier League leaders would carry to Italy.

Rangers failed to build on an early lead provided by Giovanni van Bronckhorst and were punished in the 76th minute by the substitute Stewart Petrie, who had only been on the pitch for three minutes.

Rangers' preference for costly foreign acquisitions at the expense of their home talent has been a subject of intense debate in recent years but, ironically, the chief beneficiary of the Ibrox youth policy has been Dunfermline. Three of Bert Paton's starting line-up, David Graham, Scott McCulloch and Greg Shields, all began their careers with Rangers and Graham, who only moved last month in a pounds 200,000 transfer, almost embarrassed his old club in the fourth minute.

The young striker latched on to a pass from Andy Smith and delivered a fierce shot from the edge of the box which Colin Hendry had to deflect for a corner. Rangers also survived yet another of their captain Lorenzo Amoruso's frequent errors thanks to the goalkeeper, Antti Niemi, who closed down Edinho's shot.

However, Shields' desperation to impress on his return to Ibrox played a pivotal role in providing Rangers with a 16th-minute lead. The young defender lunged to block Andrei Kanchelskis's powerful shot but only succeeded in diverting it into the path of Van Bronckhorst, who took the ball on the run and crashed a low shot past Lee Butler from 20 yards.

Strangely, the goal had a soporific effect on Rangers and they played out the remainder of the first half with the kind of possession football they will probably need in Parma.

The flow of traffic remained strictly one-way towards Butler in the second half. Stephane Guivarc'h and Rod Wallace toiled manfully in attack, but it was Jorg Albertz who provided the greatest threat. The Dunfermline midfielder Hamish French pulled the German down on the edge of the box and Albertz, known as The Hammer to the Ibrox faithful, found a way through Dunfermline's wall with a bludgeoned free-kick, only for Butler to superbly save and turn the ball past the post.

Then, out of the blue, Dunfermline equalised in the 76th minute. French's free-kick eluded the sleeping Rangers defence and Petrie stabbed the ball past Niemi.

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