Rangers hit a new low with defeat at Stirling

Stirling Albion 1 Rangers 0

forthbank stadium

At the end, Rangers were left only with a sense of their own downfall. This first league defeat of the season, against a part-time team that was bottom of the third division and without a win of their own in five games, reduced the Ibrox side to nothing but discontent. "I'm not embarrassed," said the Rangers manager, Ally McCoist, "I'm just bitterly disappointed."

Yet this was a stark exposure of all of the team's fallibilities. They lost an early goal and then laboured throughout, as if still perplexed by their circumstances. At this small, humble ground, with two modest stands and two narrow terraces behind the goals, the Rangers fans began to stream out before the end. Like their team, the supporters were lost in their own discontent.

There is little that is conventional to Rangers now, not when so many of their old certainties were cast aside during the upheavals of the summer. Even so, they could never imagine again facing opponents in a league match whose manager missed the game to get married.

Greig McDonald had arranged the wedding before he found himself replacing Jocky Scott as the Stirling manager, and one of his two assistants, Shaun Fagan, took the team yesterday. The other assistant, Marc McCulloch, lined up in midfield, and played his part by clearing a Lee McCulloch header off the line during the second half.

These quirks were incidental to McCoist, since his team immediately revealed the calamitous nature that has undermined so much of their work away from home this season.

When Stirling won a corner just eight minutes into the game, it was a humdrum delivery but Rangers still could not cope. The loose ball landed at the feet of Brian Allison, and the centre-back coolly clipped it into the back of the net.

It was a situation that was grimly familiar to the Rangers players, though. There had not even been time for the nature of the game to frustrate them, but the congestion in the centre of the pitch, the brutal aggression of so much

of the play,

and the futility of the players' efforts soon became recognisable.

"It was never going to be pretty from us," said Fagan. "We dug in and did everything we could. We never play for a draw."

Holding on to the lead spared Stirling from any obligation to commit themselves to attack, and they became entrenched, while Rangers passed the ball around with little purpose.

However, a more direct approach offered greater hope, and from one Fraser Aird cross Lee McCulloch sent a header off the upright, but there was little sense of pressure building from the visitors.

"It's a sore one," said McCoist, "but we'll bounce back."

Stirling (4-4-2): Filler (Peat, 46); McClune, Thom, Allison, McAnespie; G Weir, McSorley (Day, 59), McCulloch, Ferry; White, S Weir (Flood, 89).

Rangers (4-2-3-1): Alexander; Faure, Perry, Emilson, Wallace; MacLeod, Black (Naismith, 85); Argyriou (McKay, 67), Shiels, Aird (Kyle, 71); McCulloch.

Referee B Madden.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones