Airdrieonians 0 Rangers 1

AN IMPRESSIVE strike from Lewis Macleod maintained Rangers' perfect away record in Scottish League One but they survived a late scare in a 1-0 win over bottom club Airdrieonians.

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Lewis Macleod hit winner for Rangers against Airdrieonians
Lewis Macleod hit winner for Rangers against Airdrieonians

The 19-year-old midfielder, who was back in the team for the injured Steven Smith, fired home from 20 yards in the 18th minute.

Rangers had scored 11 goals without reply in three games against the Diamonds this season, including six on their previous trip to the Excelsior Stadium, but the goal failed to open the floodgates and Ally McCoist's men rarely threatened again from open play.

Airdrie's two Ibrox defeats came during a nine-match losing streak but they ended that run with four points from their previous two games.

And they almost snatched a point during a late spell of pressure when Willie McLaren unleashed a powerful late strike which produced a brilliant save from Cammy Bell.

The game was preceded by a minute's silence to remember the 66 fans who died in the Ibrox Disaster 43 years ago to the day.

Airdrie midfielder Caolan McAleer had the first effort when his shot drifted over the far post following a slip by Lee McCulloch on the artificial pitch.

But Rangers soon took control and got the first shot on target when Jon Daly flicked on McCulloch's long ball into Nicky Clark's path, however Danny Rogers was quickly off his line to narrow the angle and block the shot.

However, the opening goal soon came from a similar move. Daly headed down a long ball towards Macleod and the midfielder made space for himself before drilling a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Wallace soon came close when he flicked the ball over Jamie Bain's head and volleyed just wide with his right foot.

Airdrie had their best chance of the half when McLaren's free-kick found Jim Lister but he sent a free header straight at Bell.

Macleod almost scored a second when his first-time effort from 20 yards dipped just over and Daly and Bilel Mohsni both headed over from corners.

Airdrie came closest as the half petered out when Liam Watt lobbed a volley not far over after Bell had come to the edge of his box to punch clear a free-kick.

Rangers pressed from a number of set-pieces in the early stages of the second half but the closest they came was when Gregor Buchanan headed just wide of his own goal.

The visitors soon lost their urgency and struggled to carve out chances, although Macleod was not far away with a long-range volley.

And Airdrie came close in the 76th minute when Buchanan sent an overhead kick inches wide following a long free-kick into the box.

The home side kept up the pressure by forcing two corners in quick succession and Bell held a header from Lister.

Macleod soon opened Airdrie up with a pass to Clark but the striker's touch allowed Rodgers to race off his line and block.

And Airdrie came closer yet with three minutes left when McLaren caught a first-time shot cleanly and arrowed it towards the bottom corner from 20 yards. However, Bell got down to his left to stop with one hand and Mohsni cleared off the line.

Rangers survived more late pressure and lost Macleod to injury after the teenager went down unchallenged.

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