Two goals from Nicky Law gave Rangers the points in their first ever away league match with Stenhousemuir.
Martyn Corrigan’s team had the better of the chances in the first half and a sending off for Rangers’ Arnold Peralta helped their cause but they could not beat Cammy Bell.
Even when John Gemmell entered play in the second half after lighting the blue touchpaper of the tie with comments on Twitter, the home side could not truly trouble Rangers. Yet the Warriors had the better of the opening exchanges and, within the first half hour looked comfortable in their gameplan.
Rangers were hardly given any openings and it was the Warriors who had he two better chances of the opening exchanges.
Sean Higgins should have had the Warriors a goal up when he ran onto a slack backpass from Seb Faure and nipped in one-on-one with Cammy Bell. But the ex-Falkirk frontman blasted straight at the goalkeeper. The rebound fell to Sean Dickson who shot tamely and from a horizontal position, Bell palmed away then re-gathered the ball.
Rangers edged their way into the game, but could still have been picked off when Sean Lynch glided through the midfield and defence to pick-up a flick-on from the impressive Kevin McKinlay. Another of Stenny’s ex-Falkirk contingent, Lynch sent an awkward low cross into the box but Higgins was off the pace.
Rangers saw a chance blazed over by Ian Black after a corner and Lee Wallace smashed the crossbar before they took the lead.
It’s the kind of move that splits the top teams from average ones and though Stenhousemuir had been the better side, that one moment put them behind.
Ricky Foster’s pass was nodded down by Jon Daly and Nicky Law knew exactly where the ball would land. The midfielder made a bee-line and thumped the ball into the corner beyond Chris Smith.
However, Rangers’ afternoon was not to be as straightforward following the goal as they’d have liked.
First, Peralta and McKinlay were entangled infront of the away dugout with the Warriors man warned after tripping over the Honduran. But moments later it was the Rangers player in more severe trouble for catching Eddie Malone in the chest with a high boot.
The defender’s reaction was furious, and Bobby Madden matched the severity by showing the Rangers right-midfielder a red card.
Ally McCoist walked across the Ochilview pitch staring straight at the referee, and shook his head when the official finally met his gaze.
Opening the half, Rangers earned a free-kick that was thumped by Wallace straight at Chris Smith.
There was little more of interest with the crowd - aside from the away ends jeering John Gemmell’s introduction on 55 minutes until David Rowson sent a diagonal across the park onto the boot of Dickson at the edge of the box. But the winger was quickly tackled by McCulloch before he could release a shot.
It had been the most asked of the Rangers back-line since Higgins’ interlude in the first half. But Darren Smith’s introduction coincided with the Warriors’ best move of the match. from right to left the Warriors’ one-touch passing took the ball to Eddie Malone and his cross was challenged by Rowson and bounced around with Cammy Bell off his line but Stenhousemuir couldn’t stab the ball into the net.
McKinlay was having an excellent afternoon but was cautioned for dissent towards the linesman over an innocuous foul call. With ten minutes to go he was lucky to stay on the park when he pushed Black off the ball and then to the ground at a Warriors free-kick.
There would be no repeat of the first half red-card but there was a repeat of the goal. Nicky Law thumped in a stunning late striek to round off the scoring in the tp corner.
John Gemmell lit the blue touchpaper ahead of the match with Twitter comments filled with expletives blasting Ally McCoist’s complaints over the fixture scheduling.
This game was switched from last month when the game was rained off with flooding affecting the turnstiles around the temporary east stand at Ochilview.
The stand had been built to house additional Rangers fans after the supporters of the Glasgow club raised concerns over the costs of entry for the Ramsdens Cup match to stand in the uncovered car park at the east side of the Warriors’ ground.