16 March 2013

The CRO Elgin City v Rangers live blog

We're back for another go at this, as Rangers take on the mighty and massive Elgin City. If and when we're lucky enough to win today, you'll have all your coverage right here.

Alan's gonna be leading the festivities today, with Shane chiming in with the odd snarky remark. Click their names to send them a tweet or fire one off to @CoplandRoadorg with your thoughts on the match, the ground, the pies, what kind of black stallion is appropriate for a given social situation, whatever.

Team News:

ELGIN CITY: Malin, Niven, McMullan, Crighton, Duff, Cameron, Gunn, Millar, Leslie, Nicolson, Moore

SUBS: Harkins, Morrison, Beveridge, McLean, Black

RANGERS: Alexander; Hegarty, McCulloch, Cribari, Wallace; Little, Black, Faure, Crawford, Aird; Sandaza

SUBS: Gallacher, Hemmings, Naismith, Argyriou, McKay

REF: David Somers

Of course the early news is that the attempts to destroy Andy Little's (top goalscorer) confidence by playing him on the wing has not stopped. This should be fun.

Ally McCoist has rung in the changes for today's trip to Elgin. Skipper Lee McCulloch moves back to centre-half, Chris Hegarty moved to right-back, Andy Little (again) moved to right wing, defender Seb Faure is in central midfield (what), Fraser Aird re-emerges from the shadows for a start as does Robbie Crawford. Fran Sandaza is back in the starting 11 for the first time in a good number of weeks.

Kane Hemmings and Kal Naismith will both be looking to come on and impress at some point in the game - Barrie McKay must be disappointed at being on the bench again.

"A chance for Fraser Aird, Seb Faure and Robbie Crawford to shine", says McCoist to the Sky Sports cameras.

Shane: McCann gives us the "cup tie" defense. McCoist tells us the peril of have fully "six or seven" men out. No mention that we have a 28 man first team squad.

Seventy2 Magazine editor, @JamesyD1, says: "glad to see @jiggymacc6 at the back to give vital leadership and hold shape. Also happy to see @robbiedc93 given a chance too"

Elgin playing a 4-3-1-2, clearly going to attack us from the off.  4-3-2-1, or 4-5-1, for Rangers today.

0.00 - And we're off at Borough Briggs! Rangers wearing an all-blue kit in Moray.

2.00 - Early free-kick from Ian Black sees skipper Lee McCulloch force a corner after some space opened up at the back post.

CRO contributor Andy McGowan says: "if we'd played hemmings ahead of sandaza and went 4-4-2 instead of 4-5-1 id have been pretty happy"

4.00 - Sandaza forces a great save from city 'keeper Malin, from around the penalty spot. Rangers look hungrier already today than last week.

Eddie checks in: "@crims73 I see we're already suffering from first man corner syndrome again.."

7.00 - Elgin's Paul Millar, standing at 6ft 10in, will cause Hegarty  few problems today I'm guessing!

9.00 - Ooft! Robbie Crawford smacks the bar with a left-footed drive. Very unfortunate to not score there. Much better from the Teddy Bears so far.

That man again @JamesyD1 says: "@robbiedc93 is such an intelligent footballer for his age. Will be the main creative force today."

11.00 - Sandaza does well on the left-side of the box, squaring for Little who puts his shot just wide. Fair few chances already here.

Danny Grant liking Sandaza so far: "@D4nny_G13 Wonderful performance so far from Fran-Dan. Taking his chance big time."

18.00 - Rangers seem to have lost the steam from the early passages - Elgin now settling into the game.

Shane: Seb is wondering if offending the giant is a good idea.

@FinbarOffended don't like dem chickens - "@CoplandRoadorg maybe ally should ve bribed the players with the reward of nandos at h/t f/t for getting result"

27.00 - Pretty much sums it up - "@JJMNJ Started brightly, fell away."

Shane: From one chance on frame and some decent movement to back being the man who's only scored two goals for us this season. At least Sandaza has found the form we're all used to, and in only 25 minutes.

31.00 - Seb Faure has contributed only in fouling the opposition so far - just what he's doing in the starting line-up never mind the middle of the park is completely baffling.

Dutch Bearette @pamelaRFC relying on the CRO blog! "I'm locked outside my house waiting on someone to bring a key so depend on your live blog! Ty"

36.00 - Rangers-daft Daniel Moore comes close with a left-footed free-kick, just inches over the bar.

Shane: Does our chalkboard say "Try like you give a fuck for the first 10 minutes then just sleepwalk it until the half"?

38.00 - The snow has begun to fall yet again in Edinburgh. Miserable weather outside - not much better football-wise between Elgin and Rangers.

Breaking News: Kevin Kyle has left Ibrox by mutual consent. He told BBC Radio Scotland that injuries and a new direction for the team are the reasons his contract has been binned. He is still training at the club for fitness levels.

I wish him all the best, he' always been unlucky with injuries, and quite honestly he looked decent in the few games he started and scored. Cheers Kev.

Billy boy with an Elgin player scouting report: "@billybingham1 That lad moore for elgin is a proper baller. Left footed left mid who's decent at set pieces. Wonder how he'd do at right back?"

HALF-TIME: Elgin City 0-0 Rangers. Aside for the first ten minutes, Rangers have been very average. Need to pick themselves up for the rest of the game. Three points is a must after a difficult week.

Don't blame you! - "@scottieparker @CoplandRoadorg I was havin a nice long kip and got up to watch this!! Might go back to bed at half time!!"

Half-time fan views:

@RossP2011 @CoplandRoadorg DISGUSTING.

@jaykay0606 @CoplandRoadorg won't take long

Ruaridh ‏@ruaridh1 @CoplandRoadorg pretty much what expected

@xDoZeo @CoplandRoadorg Shite.

@FinbarOffended @CoplandRoadorg nandos isnt working bring in the lions

@WATP_84 @CoplandRoadorg agree with the blog. Good first 10 mins. Utter rubbish after that.

@jonmar37 @CoplandRoadorg :-) once again no reaction from last wk utter rubbish apart from first 10 min

@craigbrownshb @CoplandRoadorg utter shite!! Get andy walker to fuck haha

@Hans_Blix Good too see Ally proving a point today that everyone doesn't have a clue #useless

Shane: Who in their right fucking mind thinks Sandaza is or ever should be the "main man for Rangers"?!?!? There's a guy out on the right wing now with 25 goals, scored in six straight, being fucking wasted.

The players are back out. Second period about to start. Come on RANGERS.

McCoist: "Should've been ahead. Our tempo definitely dropped. We need to start with the same tempo and continue with it."

@ewanmcqueen_91 "Lack of tempo or urgency worrying. No need for Faure to be playing. 4-4-2 in second half please."

@FukinMilesAway "Need a goal? Why not play the top scorer in the country as a striker?! no? okay then"

51.00 - Between the fourth and 50th minute, Rangers failed to register a shot on target.

52.00 - No improvement from the first half. Did Ally even give them a team-talk? Or was it more post-match meal talk?

@pamelaRFC "Im in now. Just caught a glimpse of Frandaza.....he looks like he been running a marathon. #condition"

56.00 - Charles Green sporting a Rangers bar scarf at the game. That's staunch.

59.00 - Ian Black has a pop at goal. Comfortable save from Malin, but at least Black was showing some desire there. Aird trying a leg down the left but to no avail so far.

63.00 - This has nil-nil written all over. Another shockingly average display from the Gers today. Not acceptable.

66.00 - Cracking cross from Little, Sandaza goes for the diving header and completely misses it. Sums up his game.

"@JohnDCGow Ally should take Faure off and put McKay on. That'll allow Little to play alongside Sandaza and create more width with Barrie."

68.00 - Fran Sandaza is replaced by Barrie McKay.

71.00 - PENALTY! Wallace is fouled in the box.

72.00 - GOAL! Lee McCulloch slots home! Elgin 0, Rangers 1.

73.00 - Follow Follow rings out from the travelling Bears - they'll be expecting the team to press on and get a killer second now.

"@pamelaRFC Big compliment from me to all the fans who travelled to Elgin today. Some more then 4 hours! You guys deserve better. COME ON RANGERS !!!"

82.00 - Eight minutes of regular time left, looks like right-back Anestis Argyriou is going to come on. Are we really going to just defend the rest of the match out?!

"@JJMNJ Cannot understand either why Kane Hemmings isn't getting a chance. *shakes head*"

@scottieparker @CoplandRoadorg as the chant goes up around my living room - "We're so shite it's unbelievable!!! good to see it's all nice and happy and jokey on our bench FFS!"

85.00 - Defence has been a lot better with McCulloch back there. Let's hope that doesn't come back to haunt me.

87.00 - Ian Black receives his second yellow card and is sent off. Definitely a foul, but a tad harsh to order a player off for that. Rules are rules though.

Shane: Send that thick cunt home for good. Fuck off, Black.

89.00 - Fraser Aird comes in with a late challenge, gets a yellow for his troubles. Why is it the referee is card-happy when a Gers players commits the foul, but not the other way? Far too many examples of terrible challenges not punished this season.

90.00 - Regular time is up. Now into added time.

90.30 - Little coming off, the Greek Argryiou on.

91.30 - 4 minutes of stoppage time. One and a half played already.

93.00 - A minute to play. Rangers just about there.

94.00 - Added time finished. We're still playing.

95.30 - Why is this still on?! Ref is taking the piss.

FULL-TIME. Elgin 0, Rangers 1.

Today's attendance at Borough Briggs was 3663.

Post-match fans views: 
‏@ewanmcqueen_91 "I can honestly say that I'm embarrassed to watch Rangers now. That was an utterly atrocious performance despite the 3 points."

@rangersfctrust "We're gonna win the league!"

@scottieparker "@CoplandRoadorg so this how you bounce back from a bad defeat. Play shit, scrape a 1-0 thanks to a penalty #notgoodenough"

@paulduncan1984 "Our goalkeeper is time wasting in SFL3! That's how bad things are #rangers"

@MartyMc732 "Bloody awful, toiled & lucky to take 3 points."

Player reaction:

McCulloch: "The game was scrappy, and the pitch was heavy. It made it harder to pass the ball. We're three points closer to where we want to be.

"Today a clean-sheet was as good as a goal."

More fans views:

@JamesyD1 "Cribari was 'miles' better today next to big Jig, hopefully that can continue for the rest of the season."

@alexo93 "Up at 5:30am. 3 points aye, but that performance was awful. Again."

@BryanMcGill81 teeth pulling material

Opposition view:

Elgin gaffer Ross Jack: "I'll have to see the penalty incident again. There's no point putting in a performance against Rangers like that, and not to continue it next week. Fourth place is up for grabs now."

Rangers are now 20 points clear of Queen's Park as they inch their way closer to the Third Division title. A maximum of five points are now needed to clinch SFL3.

A win against Stirling Albion next Saturday in the noon kick-off at Ibrox, followed by a Queen's Park defeat to Annan later on at 3pm, will confirm Rangers as champions.

If Queen's Park win, then a win away to Montrose the following Saturday will ensure the trophy.

Hope you enjoyed the CRO's live blog coverage of the game today. Wasn't the best of games but three points closer to the championship.