Live Commentary: Rangers 3-1 East Stirlingshire - as it happened

Ibrox
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Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of Rangers' Scottish Third Division clash with East Stirling.

Rangers played host to East Stirlingshire in the Scottish Third Division this afternoon looking to extend their lead at the top of the division.

Andy Stirling gave the visitors a surprise lead at half time, but Ally McCoist's side hit back with three goals in the second period.

Gers captain Lee McCulloch found the net and Andy Little bagged a brace as the Ibrox outfit ran out 3-1 winners.

Find out how all the action unfolded with our-minute-by-minute text commentary below.


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11.35pmGood afternoon and welcome to our live text coverage of the Scottish Third Division clash between Rangers and East Stirlingshire. Team news is on the way...

11.36pmRANGERS: Alexander; Argyriou, Hegarty, Emilson, Wallace; Naismith, Black, Hutton, Templeton; Little, McCulloch
SUBS: Gallacher, Faure, McKay, Aird, Hemmings

11.40pmThe big news there is that Ally McCoist welcomes back skipper Lee McCulloch after an eight-week layoff. He has scored five times against today's opponents during his career, and I wouldn't bet against him increasing that tally today.

11.42pmRangers have a flawless record against East Stirling, winning all six of their previous encounters and scoring 26 goals in the process.

11.45pmRangers have been pretty formidable in the league of late, but were pegged back by a surprise draw with Stirling Albion midweek. You can read our report on that game here.

11.49pmThere's a party atmosphere here at Ibrox today as they have something to celebrate following the news that Rangers will not be stripped of their league titles. This was based on the findings of an investigation into alleged irregular payments to players. You can read all about it here.

11.54pmLet's not sugarcoat it, there's a huge gulf between these two sides, but the part-timers will take heart from the fact that Montrose and Elgin have managed draws here at Ibrox.

11.56pmHere's the East Stirling XI: Hay, Shepherd, Miller, Buchanan, Maxwell, Greenhill, Turner, Hunter, Stirling, Glasgow, Quinn

0 minEast Stirling get the game underway. Rangers win possession and claim the first attack inside the opening minute. Andy Little forces a save from Grant Hay. A positive start from the hosts.

2 minUplifting scenes here at Ibrox as the entire stadium breaks into rapturous applause for Sandy Jardine, one of their all-time greats, who is battling cancer. He's in attendance today.

4 minRangers have settled into the game well and are knocking it about with confidence. East Stirling look like they are enjoying their big day out, but will have to dig deep if they want to upset the odds here today.


6 minThere's a brief stoppage as Rangers skipper Lee McCulloch commits a foul. The ref awards a free kick which Grant Hay hits upfield.

9 minTempleton concedes a free kick in the Rangers half. The ball is swung in towards the head of Greenhill, but the Gers defence deal with the danger.

10 minIt's been a quieter opening 10 minutes than I was expecting. Rangers have allowed their opponents to see a little too much of the ball in these early stages and have been somewhat scrappy.

12 minGreat play by Kyle Hutton in the middle of the park there. He fended off three challenges before feeding a through ball to Little, but the striker's first touch let him down.

14 minEast Stirling are a side in form, with back-to-back wins against Annan, Clyde and Elgin in their last three games. They haven't given Rangers an inch so far today, but can they keep it up?

16 minCHANCE! Great skill by Templeton along the left to carve out a chance for Little. The former Hearts man sends a lofted pass across the face of goal, but Little's header sails over the bar.

18 minThere's a half-chance for East Stirling at the other end as Jamie Glasgow almost capitalises on a bad backpass by Cribari, but Gers keeper Alexander is quick to react and deal with the danger.

21 minCHANCE! Great vision by Black to find Little in the area with a long ball. The striker heads wide of goal this time. He should have at least tested Hay there!

23 minPersistent play by Naismith. He ploughs his way through two challenges before Hay throws himself on the ball. The visiting goalkeeper is tested from outside the area by McCulloch moments later, pulling off an impressive stop.

26 minEast Stirling win their first corner of the game. Andy Stirling curls one into the near post, but Ian Black heads clear.

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27 minSHOT! Rangers carve out another chance at the other end as Hutton lines up Little for a shot, but he puts it wide despite getting away from his marker. Impressive play during the build-up from Templeton. That was the Gers' best move of the match.

30 minQuinn is playing upfront on his own. Although East Stirling have defended well, they haven't provided much service to their lone striker, who is in good goalscoring form.

32 minStrong defending by Miller to hold off Naismith. He made himself big to block the midfielder's run and got the challenge in early, conceding a throw-in. Miller is a painter and decorator by trade, or so I am told.

34 minNaismith with a speculative effort from about 40 yards out. It goes over the bar, much to the frustration of skipper McCulloch. He was never going to find the net from back there. I think the youngster's frustration got the better of him.

36 minHesitant defending from Rangers almost leads to an opening for East Stirling. There were no black and white shirts in the box to capitalise in the lapse, allowing Black to hack the ball clear. I get the impression a better side would have punished the Gers there.

40 minGOAL! Rangers 0-1 East Stirling (Stirling)

41 minThe visitors take a surprise lead with their first attempt of the match! The young Andy Sterling takes advantage of poor marking by Rangers, gets in between two defenders, and fires a low shot beyond Alexander!

43 minRangers are were hit by a sucker punch there. They have dominated play, but have also been wasteful, and have allowed a few lapses to creep into their defensive play. They have a free kick right on the edge of their opponents' box now...

44 minSHOT! McCulloch goes for goal from the set piece and his effort takes a deflection off Glasgow along the way. Hay produces a fantastic save to his left to keep it out and Hegarty blazes the rebound over!

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Rangers 0-1 East Stirling

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12.49pmBoos ring around Ibrox as the half-time whistle sounds. They go into the break a goal down thanks to a strike from young Andy Stirling. It's been a typical Third Division display from them. Wasteful up front and indisciplined at the back.

12.52pmI expect Ally McCoist will have a few things to say about this performance during half time. A few Rangers players will be in for the hair-dryer treatment, particularly the team's rear guard.

12.54pmRangers have been leading at half time in eight of their last 10 matches, so this scoreline will be a real shock to their system. I still believe they will turn this around, though. I'm going with Andy Little as next goalscorer and Rangers to win 2-1.

12.58pmIt hasn't been the best of performances from Little so far, but he is the kind of player who can produce a moment of magic and turn games around. I was surprised to see him left out of the Northern Ireland side for their recent friendly against Malta.

45 minRangers get the game back underway. They have 45 minutes to avoid succumbing to a shock defeat here at Ibrox.

47 minSHOT! Templeton and McCulloch exchange passed before the latter lines the ball up for Ian Black on the edge of the box, but his stinging effort is deflected win. He takes the corner himself, but his short pass is easily cleared.

49 minA bright start to the second period from Rangers. They are playing with more purpose now. McCoist's half-time talk is obviously paying off.

50 minGOAL! Rangers 1-1 East Stirling (Little)

51 minRangers have their equaliser thanks to Andy Little. Good, persistent play from Argyriou during the build-up. He shrugs off two challenges before playing the ball across goal for the striker to bury.

54 minHalf-chance for Rangers as Little gets in behind Buchanan and sails in a cross to McCulloch on the back post, but he over-hits his pass and the Gers captain can't quite reach it.

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56 minEast Stirling venture forward and win their first corner of the half. Shepherd's cross is headed clear by Black and the attack grinds to a halt.

58 minThe Ibrox crowd are getting behind the team now, after expressing their disapproval so vociferously at half time. They are currently singing 'Four Men Had A Dream'.

62 minGOAL! Rangers 2-1 East Stirling (McCulloch)

63 minTempleton, who has had a quiet game up to now, splits the Stirling defence in two with a through-ball and Rangers skipper McCulloch keeps his cool to round Hay and place a shot into the back of the net!

63 minGOAL! Rangers 3-1 East Stirling (Little)

64 minIt's a goal rush here at Ibrox as Little capitalises on a mistake from Shepherd, bears down on goal and beats Hay at his near post to make it 3-1. The Stirling shot-stopper will be disappointed he let that past him.

65 minRangers make their first change of the match: Barry McKay comes on for Kal Naismith. Templeton puts the ball in the net moments later, but the goal is ruled out for offside.

66 minMcKay's first contribution is to square the ball to Templeton inside the box, only to see the midfielder put his effort wide of the post. Stirling have made their first substitution: Gillespie on for Shepherd, who was at fault for Little's second goal.

70 minAnd Gillespie's first contribution is to earn a yellow card for bringing down Little. Templeton steps up to take the resulting free kick, playing a long ball into the box, which Hay easily claims.

72 minCHANCE! Maxwell makes a run along the left flank and finds Stirling in the box with a low pass. The ball ricochets off the young striker and forces Alexander into a save. It could have been 3-2 there!


73 minOFF THE POST! How did that stay out? McCulloch's initial effort is parried by Hay and Templeton pounces on the rebound. The stadium was waiting for the net to bulge, but it comes back off the post and lands safely in the hands of Hay!

74 minRangers appeal for a penalty as Maxwell clatters into Little in the area, sending the Rangers man tumbling. I think it would have been a little harsh had the ref pointed to the spot, but I've seen them given for less.

76 minWhat a different story this second half has been. Rangers have been more convincing upfront, but have still been wasteful at times. Nevertheless, McCoist cannot possibly be unhappy with three goals, and they are continuously pushing for a fourth.

80 minToday's attendance at Ibrox is 44,534. It's good to see the majority of the Rangers faithful have not turned their backs on the club despite its current plight. With them being so far ahead at the top of the division, I imagine many of them are enjoying the journey.

83 minThe game has settled into a slower place now. Both sides are enjoying possession in the middle of the park, and some of the urgency has dropped out of Rangers' attacking play.

85 minStirling swings in a free kick, Little heads clear. Rangers break and create an opportunity at the other end as McKay swings in an inviting cross for McCulloch, who heads wide from point-blank range. The Gers skipper should have hit the target!

87 minMcCulloch's afternoon comes to an end, with Kane Hemmings replacing him. I don't think McCoist is taking any chances on his skipper's fitness after he missed the last eight weeks through injury. He goes off to a standing ovation.

89 minTempleton goes on a mazy run, reaching the edge of the Stirling box before Buchanan brings him down. The Stirling man is booked and the Gers are awared a free kick in a dangerous position. Little takes it, but the wall takes most of the sting out of it and the danger is cleared.

90+1 minMiller makes a vital interception to prevent a low pass from finding Little in front of goal. Rangers make their final chance late on, introducing Fraser Aird for David Templeton.

90+3 minFULL-TIME: Rangers 3-1 East Stirling

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1.54pmThe scoreline suggests it was comfortable in the end but there were moments where it was anything but. Stirling gave the visitors a shock half-time lead, before a Little brace and a Lee McCulloch strike sealed the points for the Gers.

1.56pmIt shouldn't be too long before they have mathematically sealed the Scottish Third Division title. You can read our full match report here.

1.57pmThat's all from me here today. Many thanks for joining Sports Mole for this Scottish Third Division clash!

Andy Little celebrates netting his first for Rangers on December 22, 2012
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