Report: Inverness 0 Rangers 2
Traditionally a hard place to pick up a victory, Rangers came away from Inverness with all three points on Satuday to go joint top of the league, albeit for a couple of hours. It was also a much needed victory for Ally McCoist who had only won one of his opening four games.
It was a good game overall, there were penalty claims turned down, penalties given, two red cards and an offside goal which should have stood. Amongst all that, Rangers also had Kyle Bartley go off injured which gave youngster Ross Perry the chance to make his debut.
Rangers were without defenders Steven Whittaker, Sasa Papac and David Weir so McCoist went for a 4-3-3 formation with McGregor in goals and a back four of Wallace, Goian, Bartley and Broadfoot. The midfield was Edu, Ness and Davis, with Ortiz, Naismith and Jelavic filling the three forward places.
It was good to see Jamie Ness back in the side, he showed his class in the game and for me either Edu or McCulloch have to make way for him permanently. The young midfielder has a big future at the club and could be the new Barry Ferguson.
Rangers thought they had taken the lead in the third minute after Jelavic scored from short range, but the linesman flagged for offside against Maurice Edu who had touched the ball just before it reached Jelavic. The decision looked to be a bit harsh.
It looked as if it wasn't going to be Rangers' day as far as decisions were concerned after they had to legitimate claims for handball turned down in the first half which should have been penalties.
Rangers were taking the game to Inverness and had all the pressure, but it was Inverness who should have taken the lead after they went on the counter attack on the 22nd minute. Aaron Doran was put clean through on goal but his shot was weak and was saved easily by Allan McGregor.
After at least three bad decisions against Rangers in the first half, it was a bad decision against Inverness which led to the opening goal. Naismith was stopped by what looked to be a great tackle from Tokely inside the box. The referee however awarded the penalty, and to rub salt into the wounds, the big defender was sent off for his troubles.
Nikica Jelavic stepped up confidently to take the penalty and duly converted it making it 1-0 to Rangers. It was a great relief to the travelling support and the Rangers management. Eight minutes later Rangers were awarded another penalty, this one was also a bit soft but not as soft as the first one. Goian was impeded by Aldred.
Jelavic again stepped up to take it but he sent it the same way and it was stopped by Esson, however the goalkeeper could not hold onto it and it rebounded back out into the path of Maurice Edu who smashed it into the net making it 2-0.
Maurice Edu's game didn't last much longer though after he was sent off for a second bookable offence. It was a touch harsh as his first yellow card was soft. The second one was definitely a yellow but he should never have been booked for the first foul earlier in the game.
Steven Naismith and Steven Davis both had good chances before the end of the game but could not add to the two goals already scored. So the game ended 2-0 and Rangers picked up the three points to boost morale ahead of the Europa League game this week.
Inverness CT v Rangers Match Stats