RANGERS missed out on a chance to climb back up to second place in the Championship table as they went down 3-0 to Queen of the South.
Goals from Derek Lyle and Gavin Reilly either side of the break plus an own goal from Lee Wallace, after Lewis Kidd cannoned the ball off the left-back, sent Gers home with no points.
The result means Stuart McCall’s side stay in third behind Hibernian with a game in hand to play next week against Livingston.
On a balmy evening at Palmerston Park Rangers first shot on target took 13 minutes to come. Andy Murdoch dinking a ball in from the right flank which sent Zander Clark scrambling to tip over what had seemed to be a cross until it curled towards his goal.
Both sides were struggling to make a mark on the game and meaningful chances were becoming a rarity as the half hour mark approach. David Templeton looked to create something when he danced off the left wing to cut inside and curl a shot temptingly towards the top corner. His effort fell just wide though as Gers searched to secure as opening in a tight game.
It was Queens who were to make the break through though on 33 minutes, as they spread the ball quickly and efficiently on the break. Daniel Carmichael passing a quick one out to Kidd on the right as the home support called for a barge on him by Lee Wallace but it was waved away. That played into Lyle’s hands as he stormed through the middle to collect the resulting square ball and dispatch his strike past Lee Robinson.
Two minutes later the home side threatened again, this time Reilly giving the Gers defence a scare. He found himself with enough space to drag a shot along the ground that Robinson had to hurry to collect at full stretch.
Rangers looked to react quickly to going behind and they nearly did so – Kenny Miller bouncing a header off the bar after Haris Vuckic had launched a corner towards the far post. And then Wallace had his appeals for a penalty dismissed just before the break. The left-back had played a quick one-two with Nicky Law as he scampered into the box before Mark Durnan brought him to his knees. But the defender was adjudged to have got the ball and Rangers went in for half-time with some room to make up.
But within seconds of the restart they found themselves with double the work to do as they went two behind. Queens broke down the left and whizzed a ball across the face of Gers goal. No one connected until it found its way to Kidd lurking at the back post and he rattled his shot against Wallace on the line to send the net bulging and Palmerston Park roaring.
Rangers hustled and hurried and McCall brought on Robbie Crawford to freshen up the middle but still they couldn’t find a goal in return. In fact a rare shot for the visitors came from Bilel Mohsni as he pushed forward in the desperate hunt for goals. The Tunisian launching, what would have been a daisy cutter were it not for the plastic pitch at Clark, who held well.
And the situation was to worsen for the Light Blues when Crawford was caught in possession at the back and Reilly sprung the offside trap to side foot past Robinson. McCall’s side were searching for answers with 20 minutes left to play and three goals to avenge – a task that ultimately proved impossible.
RANGERS: Robinson, McGregor, Mohsni, Zaliukas, Wallace, Templeton (Crawford 58”), Murdoch, Law, Vuckic, Miller (Hardie 73”), Clark (Boyd 77”)
Subs not used: Simonsen, Black, Shiels, Sinnamon
Yellows: Templeton 50”
Queen of the South: Clark, Holt, Dowie, Durnan (Hooper 77”), Higgins, Reilly (Russell 87”), Kidd, McKenna Carmichael, McShane, Lyle (Pickard 84”)
Subs not used: Atkinson, Paton, Smith, Smith
Goals: Lyle 33”, Wallace o.g 45”, Reilly 68”
Yellows: Higgins 87”