SUPER sub Billy King was the hero for Rangers as his last-gasp goal gave Rangers a remarkable, and crucial, Championship victory over third place Falkirk at Ibrox.
The on-loan Hearts man only signed for the club on Thursday but his impact was immediate this afternoon as he pulled his side out of a hole with a superb headed finish in injury time.
With fans waiting for the final whistle and expecting both sides to share a point each, James Tavernier picked the ball up on the right and his accurate cross was met by King who glanced the ball past Danny Rogers before celebrating in front of a jubilant Copland Stand.
It was a quite sensational way to end a match which, for 90 minutes, had failed to live up to pre-match expectations with both teams unable to hit top form.
The match started brightly enough and Falkirk should have taken the lead after just two minutes.
Conor McGrandles did well to get away from Danny Wilson on the right before he chipped a delightful cross into the Gers area.
The unmarked Blair Alston rose to meet the ball but could only head over from six yards with fans in the ground waiting for him to beat Wes Foderingham.
Barrie McKay was again lively in the opening stages and he was using his pace to get into pockets of space in between the visitors defence and midfield.
With Dominic Ball sitting deep in the holding midfield role, Nicky Law and Dean Shiels were also given a license to roam forward but the Bairns backline was working hard to protect Danny Rogers’ goal.
Indeed, the big keeper hadn’t had a lot to do before he palmed James Tavernier’s rasping shot from distance around his near post with 14 minutes on the clock.
At the other end of the stadium the Gers defence was also staying watertight and a 30-yard drive from Will Vaulks failed to trouble Foderingham who watched the ball fly harmlessly over his bar.
With the half hour mark approaching there were more groans than cheers coming from the Ibrox faithful as Rangers struggled to find their usual rhythm and the same could be said for Falkirk.
Dean Shiels was back in the team to add a creative spark and the Ulsterman did well to glide past a defender into the 18-yard box but there were no takers for his low delivery which was cleared to safety.
With eight minutes of the first half remaining Shiels’ deep cross from the right almost dipped under Rogers’ bar at the back post but the keeper did well to tip the ball over as he backtracked nervously.
Falkirk then created their best goalscoring opportunity of the match when the ball fell in the box to top scorer John Baird but his initial effort was blocked bravely by Danny Wilson.
The ball rebounded back to Baird but his flicked effort with the outside of his right boot beat Foderingham but was punted away by Dom Ball.
The first half was, in all honesty, poor although Peter Houston would have been the happier of the two managers at the break.
His side had the better chances in the opening forty five and had frustrated a Gers side which had scored 21 goals in their previous five games.
Two minutes into the restart and Warburton’s did have the ball in the net but Miller was deemed to be in an offside position before he connected with Martyn Waghorn’s deflected cross.
In the next attack a hand ball by the grounded Peter Grant, who was tussling with Nicky Law, resulted in ref Kevin Clancy awarding a free-kick 20 yards from Falkirk’s goal.
Martyn Wahorn and Tavernier stood over the ball and, after a long wait, it was the latter who tried his luck but his effort blasted off the wall.
The game was now a bit livelier and on 56 minutes Foderingham had to be sharp to dive to his right and palm away a rasping shot from Vaulks.
With an hour played the Rangers fans rose to their feet as loan signing King replaced Miller, while Harry Forrester also took over from Nicky Law.
With King on the right of midfield and Forrester on the left there was now a bit more interest in a match which was, at times, hard viewing.
With the clock ticking down a draw looked more and more likely although Vaulks did his best to inspire his side when he let fly with a 30 yard rocket whizzed past the post.
Gedion Zelalam, on for Shiels, has yet to score for the Light Blues but with eight minutes left he had a great opportunity to change that.
A cross from the right teed up the American but from 16 yards he failed to find the power of accuracy to beat Rogers who easily collected his effort.
That looked to be the last chance of the game for Rangers but King had other ideas.
Tavernier’s cross could not have been better for the winger who produced the most accurate of headers to send the home fans into ecstasy.