Much to be proud of despite the result

MONTROSE FC made history on Sunday when they faced Rangers for the first time in a league match.

In fact, the sides had not met since August 28, 1976 when the score was 3-0 to Rangers at Links Park in front of a crowd of 8,000.

But it was a significantly larger crowd at Ibrox that faced the Gable Endies. A total of 45,081 turned out for the match - the second largest attendance in the UK with just Manchester City v Arsenal attracting a bigger crowd.

Montrose boss Stuart Garden made no changes to the side that won 3-1 against Berwick Rangers the previous Saturday at Links Park.

With Rangers having a blip mid-week with a loss to Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup, Montrose were looking to make the most of it.

And to start with the visitors did look the stronger side. Terry Masson had the first clear opportunity of the game but he was thwarted by ‘keeper Neil Alexander.

Just a minute later Lloyd Young tried his luck but he was blocked by Ross Perry.

Five minutes later Dean Shiels had the first chance for the ‘Gers but his shot from the penalty area was sent over the bar.

Masson looked dangerous for the home side again in the 10th minute but Alexander was quick to make the catch again.

Three minutes later a Rangers corner from Dean Shiels was cleared to safety by Ricky McIntosh.

In the 15th minute the Gable Endies were awarded a free kick but Lewis MacLeod cleared away the David Gray effort.

David Crawford was called into action for Montrose in the 25th minute and did well to catch Dean Shiels corner attempt.

A minute later the deadlock was broken by Rangers. Shiels met a header from captain Lee McCulloch and drove the ball into the net.

Refusing to be disheartened, Montrose fought back well and on the half hour mark Ricky McIntosh came close but the ball was punched away by Alexander.

Two minutes later the Links Park men managed what Rangers least expected them to do and equalised.

Following a cross from Ricky McIntosh, Anestis Argyriou scored an own goal. However, it was debatable where the goal came from and Garry Wood wheeled away in celebration once the ball found the net.

The Ibrox men looked determined to pull back a goal immediately after but all attempts went unrewarded.

Argyriou came close in the 36th minute but Paul Lunan did well to stop him.

Lee Wallace was the next for Rangers to have a go but David Crawford’s quick thinking saved the visitors.

The next effort came from Sebastien Faure but his header went over the bar.

The side drew to a close with the home side looking increasingly frustrated and the visitors rightfully pleased with their performance so far.

Half time: Rangers 1, Montrose 1.

Montrose looked ready for whatever Rangers could throw at them as the second half began.

Within a minute Masson had taken a chance but it was saved by Alexander.

The next 10 minutes saw both sides do their best to better their score only to find themselves blocked at every turn.

Unfortunately for the Gable Endies, however, Rangers took the lead to make it 2-1. With his first goal for the club, MacLeod met a ball from Faure with perfect timing and neatly sent the ball past Crawford.

Moments later Rangers made their first substitution of the game with youngster Fraser Aird coming on to replace Barrie McKay.

With the Gable Endies obviously starting to tire as the hour mark drew closer Rangers started to make the most of it.

Ross Perry came close in the 56th minute but sent the ball over the bar.

Just three minutes later, things got even worse for Montrose when McCulloch scored his 10th goal of the season.

With an assist from man-of-the-match MacLeod, McCulloch made light work of Montrose ‘keeper Crawford.

In the 63rd minute Montrose picked up their first booking courtesy of Masson for a foul on Black.

The former Hearts and Inverness man was substituted seconds later to make way for Francisco Sandaza.

Wallace came close to making it 4-1 in the 66th minute but David Crawford just managed to tip the ball over the bar.

In the 68th minute Montrose made their first substitutions of the game when Leighton McIntosh made way for Scott Johnston and Phil McGuire came on for Ricky McIntosh.

The arrival of Johnston made the Gable Endies perk up a little up front but the size of the pitch and the experienced Light Blues’ side were obviously starting to take their toll.

In the 77th minute David Gray was replaced by Jamie Winter making his first appearance since last season following a groin injury.

Within less than a minute Winter had attempted one of his thunderbolt shots with a free kick but saw it sail right over the bar.

The three points were signed and sealed 10 minutes from time when Robbie Crawford also scored his first goal for the club.

With an assist from Lee Wallace, Crawford sent the ball past the Montrose ‘keeper.

As the game reached the closing stages frustrations were setting in for the visitors and two bookings were picked up in the final minutes by Paul Lunan and Jonathan Crawford respectively.

Despite the scoreline Montrose should be proud of their efforts as the 4-1 result does not do justice to their performance especially in the first half.

Montrose: David Crawford, Stephen McNally, Ricky McIntosh, Alan Campbell, Paul Lunan, Terry Masson, David Gray, Jonathan Crawford, Leighton McIntosh, Garry Wood, Lloyd Young. Subs: Sandy Wood, Scott Johnston, Craig McLeish, Jamie Winter and Phil McGuire.

Rangers: Neil Alexander, Anestis Argyriou, Emilson Cribari, Ross Perry, Lee Wallace, Lee McCulloch, Sebastien Faure, Ian Black, Barrie McKay, Dean Shiels, Lewis MacLeod. Subs: Scott Gallacher, Francisco Sandaza, Robbie Crawford, Francesco Stella and Fraser Aird.