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Thursday January 2, 2014

SPFL League One






MacLeod 18


Airdrieonians produced a battling display against League One leaders Rangers who were narrow winners thanks to Lewis MacLeod's first-half goal.

Fresh from a first victory in 11 games, Diamonds boss Gary Bollan made two changes to the side which started the 2-1 triumph over Arbroath on Saturday.

Young winger Nicky Cadden and striker Lewis Coult dropped to the bench with Willie McLaren and Jim Lister promoted to the starting line-up.

There was a perfectly observed minute's silence before kick-off to remember the 66 football fans who died in the Ibrox Disaster 43 years ago.

Rangers opened the scoring after 18 minutes. A long ball forward was knocked down by Jon Daly with MacLeod creating an opening with his first touch and finding the bottom corner with his second.

It could have been 2-0 four minutes later but Lee Wallace fired his effort following a productive passage of play just wide of keeper Danny Rogers' left-hand post.

Midfielder MacLeod came close again in the 26th minute when a cross from Wallace was cleared into his path but he curled his shot just over the bar.

The visitors' domination continued. Irishman Daly was a little off target with a header a minute later with Bilel Mohsni next to divert the ball over after getting on the end of a Fraser Aird corner.

Ally McCoist's troops started positively after the break and forced a flurry of corners but Airdrie managed to hold firm and withstand the pressure.

Much of the action in the second half was frantic although neither keeper was called upon to make many saves.

Rangers were often guilty of overplaying middle to front or giving possession away cheaply. The home side found it hard to get enough bodies forward during rare attacks.

However, in the 76th minute, the Diamonds carved out their best opportunity of the contest. A cross from the right-hand side found Gregor Buchanan whose overhead kick bounced just wide.

Rangers hit back three minutes later through Nicky Clark but on-loan Aberdeen goalie Rogers was off his line quickly to block.

The Diamonds came close to an equaliser with three minutes remaining when Cammy Bell saved from McLaren but the Light Blues survived as Mohsni then cleared off the line.

There was further drama following referee Greg Aitken's final whistle with Mohsni receiving a second booking, and subsequently a red card, for an off-the-ball incident as the players headed up the tunnel.

Colin Paterson at New Broomfield.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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