montrose kept themselves firmly in the play offs spots after holding Rangers to a 0-0 draw on Saturday, writes Sarah McLean.
The Ibrox side arrived at Links Park hoping for a win that would see them secure the Third Division title, but they had to wait until later in the afternoon to be crowned champions, when Elgin secured a 1-0 victory over second-placed Queen’s Park.
Montrose boss Stuart Garden made four changes to the side that won 2-1 over East Stirlingshire the previous weekend.
Sandy Wood was replaced in goal by John Gibson. Jamie Winter returned to the side along with Alan Campbell.
Paul Lunan and Jonathan Crawford were ruled out due respectively to suspension and injury and Cameron MacDonald stepped in to help strengthen the squad.
Rangers boss Ally McCoist, looking to improve their poor performance against Stirling Albion the previous Saturday, brought David Templeton and Ian Black into the side, with Barrie McKay and Fraser Aird dropping to the bench.
Both sides came out looking determined, and Montrose ‘keeper Gibson was called into action three minutes into the game to save a Templeton shot.
Seconds later, an effort from Rangers captain Lee McCulloch was blocked by MacDonald.
Seven minutes in, David Gray – who has scored two goals against Rangers this season – had a corner cleared by Lee Wallace.
Just after the 10-minute mark, a good shot from Templeton from the left was parried by Gibson.
Seven minutes later, a Wallace effort was also parried by Gibson.
In the 21st minute, Paul Watson, who scored both goals against East Stirlingshire, had the best chance yet for the home side, but his header went just left of the post.
Five minutes later, McCulloch had a good attempt for Rangers, only to see his shot go wide.
A minute later, Jamie Winter had his shot caught well by Rangers ‘keeper Neil Alexander.
Just before the half-hour mark, Templeton came close again – only to see the ball skim the bar.
In the 37th minute, Martin Boyle’s six-yard shot suffered the same fate.
With the scoreline still at 0-0 at the break, both sides were looking to break the deadlock in the second half.
Kane Hemmings had the first chance for Rangers in the 49th minute, but his shot was parried by Gibson.
Three minutes later, Robbie Crawford sent the ball wide, and in the 55th minute, Winter took another chance, only to see his shot caught by Alexander.
Rangers made their first substitution in the 57th minute, when Crawford was replaced by Barrie McKay.
A few minutes later, Garden replaced Gray with Lloyd Young.
In the 65th minute, Terry Masson’s volley was parried by Alexander.
In the rebound, Boyle sent the ball straight in past Alexander – only for the goal to be disallowed in a controversial decision by referee Kevin Clancy.
Two minutes later Garry Wood missed right of the post.
Rangers then made their second substitution, when Kane Hemmings was replaced by Kal Naismith.
Montrose had a couple of decent efforts from Watson and Winter, but the frustration was building for both sides.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Montrose and Rangers both picked up bookings for Scott Johnston and David Templeton respectively.
Garden made his second change of the game with six minutes left to go, when Ricky McIntosh replaced Winter.
With four minutes of added time, Garden made his final change in the 90th minute when Leighton McIntosh replaced MacDonald.
A minute into added time, an overhead kick by Rangers’ Sebastien Faure was caught well by Gibson.
Watson had yet another chance for Montrose in the 93rd minute saved by Alexander.
Montrose: Gibson, McNally, Campbell, McDonald (Leighton McIntosh 90), Watson, Masson, David Gray (Lloyd Young 63), Winter (Ricky McIntosh 85), Johnston, Boyle, Garry Wood. Subs Not Used: Sandy Wood, McCord.
Rangers: Alexander, Hegarty, Emilson Cribari, McCulloch, Wallace, Faure, Crawford (McKay 58), Black, Hutton, Templeton, Hemmings (Naismith 69). Subs Not Used: Smith, Argyriou, Aird.