Rangers 2 Falkirk 2: Horror show brings misery for McLeish

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The Independent Online

Like some sort of twisted horror film, Alex McLeish's final days at Ibrox saw the Rangers manager suffer yet another, surely fatal blow as his side threw away a two-goal lead to Falkirk to slide down to fifth place in the Scottish Premier League.

McLeish had wanted this day to inspire Ibrox ahead of the Champions' League encounter with Inter Milan on Tuesday, but after Alan Gow and Pedro Moutinho struck twice within two minutes, the only noise was the sound of a demonstration outside Ibrox afterwards, calling for the manager's sacking.

In a season of wretched statistics, this was the ninth successive match that Rangers had failed to register a victory.

Rangers' domestic problems this season have been in marked contrast to their Champions' League assignments, which could see Alex McLeish's team qualify for the last 16 if they defeat Inter on Tuesday night.

Labelled as the worst team in the club's history McLeish made five changes but it was two players whom he allowed to leave Ibrox, Russell Latapy and Darryl Duffy, who combined on several occasions to tear Rangers apart in the early stages.

Latapy's delightful threaded pass to Moutinho forced Sotirios Kyrgiakos to bring down the Falkirk striker and Latapy thrashed a free-kick narrowly wide. When Latapy robbed Bob Malcolm after 22 minutes, Duffy's unselfish lay-off begged Gow to finish it off, but Ronald Waterreus saved.

Rangers were flirting with yet another bad day at the office and their frustration was not eased when Peter Lovenkrands raced away on to Steven Thompson's pass but allowed goalkeeper Matt Glennon to beat it away and Lovenkrands then struck the post with his rebound.

Rangers must have been cursing their luck but they profited from immense fortune after 31 minutes when Thomas Buffel's dogged play gave him space to clip a low ball across the face of the box that was headed into his own net by Craig Ireland.

If that was not enough, Rangers must have believed this was finally their lucky day when Lovenkrands stretched their lead from the penalty spot in 56 minutes. The Falkirk full-back Kenny Milne's lunge appeared to have knocked the ball out for a corner but Chris Burke's dive conned the referee, Ian Fyfe.

However, Falkirk won their last away game at Hibernian from a two-goal deficit and when Gow struck after 69 minutes, thrashing a 20-yard shot high past Waterreus, it was little surprise when Moutinho restored parity.It was a flowing move, symbolic of Falkirk's invention and passing, with Gow finally releasing Moutinho who advanced and steered a composed angled finish beyond Waterreus.

Duffy could easily have inscribed a winner upon the occasion but by that time, Ibrox had emptied as the Rangers fans fled the scene of their torment.

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