Shiels shines for Rangers
Dean Shiels created a goal and scored himself inside two second-half minutes as Rangers came from behind to edge Montrose 4-2 in an open and entertaining Irn-Bru Third Division contest at Links Park.
Montrose were twice denied late equalisers by the frame of the goal before Robbie Crawford secured the points with virtually the last kick of the ball.
Shiels set up Kevin Kyle to put Rangers ahead midway through the second half and then finished off a clinical break to seemingly end the visitors' struggle against Montrose, who led for six minutes through Lloyd Young's strike before Lee McCulloch netted a penalty.
But home substitute David Gray soon scored a wonderful lob and Garry Wood and Scott Johnston hit the woodwork.
The victory was the least convincing of a six-match winning run for Rangers but Montrose deserve credit for their display as they showed why they had been on a six-match unbeaten run.
They showed their attacking intent in the opening minutes when Wood and then Jamie Winter came close with ambitious long-range efforts.
Andrew Little had Rangers' first effort on target when his angled drive was parried by Sandy Wood but Montrose stunned Ally McCoist's men in the 16th minute when Young ran unchecked on to Stephen McNally's long throw and dispatched a cushioned first-time volley into the bottom corner from 10 yards.
Rangers had an immediate chance to equalise when Lewis MacLeod threaded the ball through for Little but Wood was quickly out to block. Wood then pushed Kyle Hutton's free-kick delivery on to a post.
The Ibrox side did not have long to wait for the equaliser, though, and it was a cheap give-away by Montrose when McNally made an ill-advised tackle on David Templeton in the box, getting some of the ball but coming from the wrong side and through his opponent, with few complaints at Bobby Madden's decision.
Centre-back McCulloch sent Wood the wrong way for his 17th goal of the season.
The goal failed to turn the game, though. Garry Wood came close from long range before his namesake in goal parried MacLeod's effort after Little's flick had put him beyond the home defence.
Templeton shot over after good hold-up play from Kyle but Montrose had the best chances in the latter stages of the half.
Young hit another first-time effort that Neil Alexander pushed over brilliantly, and the enterprising wide midfielder then fired wide following a one-two with Wood.
Winter came close in injury-time when Alexander dived to push wide his driven 35-yard free-kick.
Wood saved from Shiels just after the break but Montrose were quickly on the front foot and McNally came close with a header.
McCoist brought on Barrie McKay for Templeton in a bid to find a much-needed cutting edge but the 67th-minute breakthrough came from a scrappy piece of play.
Hutton and Shiels got in each other's way on the edge of the box and Rangers appeared to have lost their chance but the Northern Ireland international got up and steered the ball into the path of the unmarked Kyle to shoot into the bottom corner from 16 yards.
McCoist's men had some breathing space two minutes later. Hutton helped the ball on to McKay on the left after a Montrose set-piece had been cleared and the teenager ran 60 yards before releasing the ball for Shiels, who guided the ball into the far corner.
But Montrose refused to lie down and substitute Gray got them back into it with a goal out of nothing in the 76th minute, latching on to Leighton McIntosh's lay-off and guiding a first-time effort with the outside of his right foot over the head of Alexander and into the net from the corner of the box.
The hosts came so close to levelling moments later when Wood ran on to McIntosh's header-on following a goal kick.
Wood also lobbed Alexander but the Rangers goalkeeper this time turned round to see the ball hit off his bar and fall into his arms.
Wood saved well from MacLeod but Montrose were again denied by the frame of the goal when Scott Johnston volleyed off the inside of the post from 12 yards following a free-kick into the box in injury-time.
Rangers soon restored their two-goal lead following another break when Crawford took his time to make space and guide the ball in off the post after Wood had saved from McKay.