RANGERS suffered an agonising loss to Inverness as the Highlands side won the game with a minute left to play.
It was an overhead kick from Billy McKay which handed Caley all three points and their first win over Rangers at home in a decade.
The home side had fired themselves ahead with 60 seconds left of the first-half too before Martyn Waghorn levelled things from the penalty spot on 68 minutes but the Light Blues couldn’t find a second despite a host of good chances.
Rangers had started the game with some vigour and the match was just three minutes old when Kenny Miller cut the Inverness defence apart after collecting a long throw from the left. Lee Wallace acted quickly to loop the ball in over the top for the striker to latch onto just inside the box and he shaped to shoot. Fon Williams saved low to his right and Emerson Hyndman snatched up the rebound but it was straight at the keeper.
Hyndman caused another scare at the back for Caley on 11 minutes when Jon Toral played in Barrie McKay. The number 10 put together a neat one two together with Hyndman to allow the American to dart to the near post. His final ball was a fizzing ball across the face of goal and the home side scrambled to clear their lines before a Rangers man applied the finishing touches.
Inverness had their first notable chance on 16 minutes when Jake Mulraney dispossessed Andy Halliday down the right. He charged at the Gers box before cutting inside, outwitting Toral and firing goalwards. Wes Foderingham had leaped for it but Danny Wilson was there to block and the ball cannoned out for a corner which came to nothing.
Things looked a little hairy for Rangers just before the half hour mark when Foderingham dropped the ball on the goal line under pressure from Billy McKay. It was Mulraney who had, again, created Inverness’ opening. He darted into the box to switch the ball onto his right foot and in turn lose Lee Wallace. His close range effort at the near post was spilt by Foderingham but McKay couldn’t convert the loose ball into a goal – he had in fact pushed it out of the keeper’s hands.
While Rangers had started the more dominant Inverness were slowly creeping back into the game and Liam Polworth dragged another chance wide for them on 32 minutes.
The Light Blues went straight up the other end on the attack and Barrie McKay missed a gilt edged chance with his head. Hyndman has sprayed the ball out to Wallace on the left who curled a cross onto the head of the 22-year-old but from just a few yards out the Scotland international nodded well over.
With half-time approaching Martyn Waghorn picked up the scraps from a blocked McKay shot to create a decent effort. The striker collected the ball on the edge of the area to steady himself and attempted to curl the ball inside Fon Williams’ right post. His chance flew just wide.
Just moments before they took the lead Inverness had nearly scored. Mulraney had the run of the right flank and once again used his pace to get himself into a good area, darting to the by-line. He tried to touch it to his striker, who could have tapped past the out stretched Foderingham but Danny Wilson managed to get between the two Caley boys to get an important touch and send the ball behind.
It was 44 minutes when Inverness opened the scoring and it was a solo effort from Greg Tansey which did it. The midfielder found himself in space 25 yards out and rifled a low curling shot into the bottom corner of Foderingham’s goal with his left foot. It was a goal which left Graeme Murty ripping up his half-time team talk.
Hyndman attempted to kick start Rangers second half on 54 minutes when he carried the ball over the half-way line with pace and released Miller in the left channel. The striker was going it alone in the box and managed to shoot despite a tight angle. His strike flustered Fon Williams who threw a palm at it as the ball shaved the crossbar.
As the hour mark passed the Gers were looking to play themselves back into the game once again and this time it was McKay on target. James Tavernier swept a cross onto the edge of the box, McKay touched it a few yards inside and then let fly. Fon Williams had to make a good save to deny the winger.
Moments later it was Toral’s turn and how he missed his chance only he will know. The two loanees linked up as Hyndman played the Spaniard in on the left of the box and he burst into space but with just the keeper to beat he dragged his shot the wrong side of the post.
Rangers were given their breakthrough from the penalty spot with 22 minutes left to play after Louis Laing took Wallace’s legs from under him as the full-back skipped into the box. Waghorn stepped up to slot the ball to the left of Fon Williams and fire the Light Blues level.
Tansey should and would have had his second and Caley’s second of the evening if it hadn’t been for the right hand of Foderingham. His right-footed shot from just outside the area swerved in mid-air but the Gers stopper somehow flew to his right to palm the ball around the post.
Rangers need to find a goal from somewhere and it nearly came from Tavernier with 10 left to play. The Light Blues switched play quickly to allow the right-back to curve a shot from the right of the box which Fon Williams had to dive low to save before a Gers boot scooped it up.
It was to be a dramatic final five minutes after Wilson first conceded a penalty on 85 minutes. Substitute Iain Vigurs stepped up but Foderingham guessed correctly, dived to his left and blocked the spot kick.
Murty’s celebrations from that save were to be short lived when with a minute left to play Billy McKay produced a superb overhead kick to win the game for Caley. Rob Kiernan allowed his the space to get his shot away and there was nothing Foderingham could do as the ball snuck in at the far post.
Rangers had one chance to peg it back before the final whistle blew but sub Joe Garner fouled the defender as he nodded into the ground.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace, Halliday (Holt 79’), Hyndman, Toral (Garner 90’), McKay, Miller, Waghorn
Subs not used: Alnwick, Hodson, Forrester, Windass, Dodoo
Goals: Waghorn 68’
Yellows: Toral 13’, Wilson 85’
INVERNESS: Fon Williams, Raven, Tremarco (Brad McKay 15’), Polworth, Draper (Vigurs 79’), McCart, Billy McKay, Mulraney (King 69’), Tansey, Laing, Cole
Subs not used: Hoban, Warren, Ebbe, Anier
Goals: Tansey 44’, McKay 89’