We created – and missed – chance after chance while Rangers only managed two close calls themselves, both from set pieces. Essentially, Rangers height won them the game; they dealt easily with our corners and free kicks while we always looked vulnerable when defending their set plays.
And so it proved with the goal. They won a remarkable three headers from a speculative free kick before Lovenkrands powered home and that was enough to secure three points. That came in the 55th minute, ten minutes after Buffel had missed a sitter, naturally enough after a free kick landed in our box. The lack of height in our team is something that must be addressed - it is quite simply too costly to ignore.
Rangers showed little to suggest they deserve their place in the last sixteen of the Champions League and it is galling to lose to a team with so little invention or creativity. We could easily have been leading inside three minutes but a stonewall handball in the box was ignored and then Kerr hit the bar with a half volley.
This free kick ended up in the Cooper Stand
Skippy was very lively and had a shot saved before being wrongly ruled offside when one against one with the ‘keeper. He also had a shot cleared off the line in the first half and Rangers were lucky to be level at the break.
Rangers got their goal early in the second half and never showed an interest in adding to it. McDonald had a good effort blocked by a defender before O’Donnell forced Watteraus into a good save. The rebound didn’t quite fall for Hamilton and Rangers cleared the ball as it was squared across goal. We did threaten with one free kick which missed by Andrews but Watteraus denied us again, getting a leg onto McDonald’s shot. Kinniburgh’s cross cum shot managed to avoid both the far post and the lunging Jim Hamilton.
Smith had little to do today
We played very well today, we made chances and on another day we would have won comfortably. It is satisfying to have put the cup loss behind us and we must look to keep up this level of performance. We must repeat the effort levels against Celtic next week and hope for a break in front of goal but this level of application will see us pick up points against most teams.