Raith 0-1 Rangers: Match Report

02 February 2016 10:34

Andy Halliday returns to fire Rangers to victory over Raith

It was handshakes all round for Rangers as Andy Halliday returned from suspension to fire the winner in a narrow 1-0 win over Raith Rovers at Stark's Park.

The 25-year-old slotted home the only goal of the game in Fife late in the first half as the Light Blues maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the Ladbrokes Championship.

But Halliday took no chances with his celebrations after last week's controversial sending off at Morton.

He was handed a harsh second yellow card for aiming a fist pump at the home support at Cappielow after Barrie McKay scored in a 2-0 win but this time bit his lip before exchanging some ironic handshakes with his colleagues.

After a month of on-off transfer speculation Michael O'Halloran was made to wait a little longer for his Gers debut as he was named on the bench.

He was given his introduction with 26 minutes left but the former St Johnstone man struggled to make an impact just 24 hours after sealing his B#500,000 move from Perth.

Halliday, though, was back from his one-match ban in a more advanced role than his normal defensive-midfield slot as he partnered playmaker Gedion Zelalem, who was also included as Dean Shiels and Nicky Law dropped out.

Rovers, meanwhile, brought former Celtic youngster Lewis Toshney into their defence.

After hitting 19 goals in the space of four games the Ibrox men had gone slightly off the boil last week despite eventually managing two more wins over Morton and Falkirk.

But they looked more assured during a dominant first half in Kirkcaldy, with the only surprise the fact it took them a minute until half-time to find the opener.

Martyn Waghorn produced their first attempt early on as he drove in from the right but failed to beat Kevin Cuthbert.

Toshney then lunged in on Miller just outside the Fifers' box after 28 minutes to hand the visitors a free-kick chance. They were denied again though as Halliday's shot clipped a stray thigh on the way through before rebounding off the post.

Waghorn lashed a loose ball over the top but Mark Warburton's team did not relent and got the breakthrough 44 minutes in.

Kenny Miller slotted in James Tavernier with a cute reverse pass as the right-back went on the overlap and his cross was perfect for Halliday to tuck home.

Rangers were nowhere near as slick following the interval and Rovers thought they had a quick-fire response just seconds after the break. Wes Foderingham, though, was down to smother Louis Longridge's clever flick.

Gers were relieved to see on-loan Leicester forward Harry Panayiotou's goal ruled out after a foul on substitute Shiels in the build-up.

O'Halloran was thrown on midway through the half but even with his added pace Rangers failed to assert themselves.

Fellow January signing Harry Forrester was also given a run out but the best he could do was to drag a stoppage-time shot wide of Cuthbert's goal.


Source: PA


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