RANGERS were held to a draw in Dingwall this afternoon with Clint Hill’s early opening goal cancelled out by Andrew Davies’ header.
A first half packed with action at both ends was followed by a scrappy and disappointing second period with both sides struggling to create many opportunities.
After a rather scrappy start to proceedings, Rangers took the lead on eight minutes with what was really their first foray into home territory.
After some poor control from County skipper Andrew Davies to deflect a Michael O’Halloran cross behind for a corner when he really should have been able to clear up the park, Josh Windass trotted across to take the kick.
He flighted a superb ball to the edge of the six yard box where Clint Hill got above Davies to plant a perfect header into the corner of the net and well beyond the reach of keeper Scott Fox.
It truly was the ideal start for the Light Blues, but within seconds of the restart, they had James Tavernier to thank for keeping the early lead intact as Davies came close to making amends for his earlier errors, but on the line was Tavernier to hook the ball clear.
Rangers then really should have doubled their advantage as from another County corner, they broke at lightning pace with Lee Wallace supported by no less than three other sky blue shirts up against just two defenders. Wallace chose to feed Kenny Miller to his left, but he found only the side netting rather than the back of the net.
Joe Garner then came close to making it three in three for him after some excellent Andy Halliday pressure high up the park saw him win the ball then feed the former Preston man, but his drive was straight at stopper Fox.
The missed opportunities were then to come back to haunt Gers as Davies did indeed make amends for his earlier mistakes by bulleting a Chris Burke corner kick into the net when he was left completely unmarked inside the area.
The visiting defence couldn’t say they hadn’t been warned of Davies’ ability in the area, and it was a simple enough header for the Staggies’ captain as he left Wes Foderingham with no chance.
As half time approached, the chances began to flow once again for Rangers, with Garner firing over on the stretch from a Tavernier cross, while Kenny Miller saw a deflected 25-yard drive gathered by Fox before he was inches away from tapping home a Josh Windass pass after some superb play from the pacey midfielder.
Into the second half, and while chances were limited in the opening stages, the frantic nature of the game continued.
Jason Holt saw yellow for alleged simulation in the area midway through the second period in what was just about the only goalmouth action of the half to date, while Mark Warburton adapted his attacking options, replacing Kenny Miller, Joe Garner and Michael O’Halloran with Barrie McKay, Martyn Waghorn and Joe Dodoo respectively.
It was County who came closest to taking the lead when Tim Chow found himself free inside the penalty box, but he fired well over Wes Foderingham’s bar before from a similar position, Liam Boyce fired wide from an Alex Schalk cross.
In the final minute of normal time, sub McKay picked out a superb ball for James Tavernier to meet as he raced into the area, but he shot wide of the target in what was Gers final chance.
Foderingham then made a rather unconventional save to deny Schalk in the last minute of normal time as the game ended in a draw.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Hill, Kiernan, Wallace; Halliday, Windass, Holt; Miller (McKay, 64), Garner (Waghorn, 64), O’Halloran.
SUBS: Gilks, Dodoo, Wilson, Crooks, Hodson.
BOOKED: Holt, Waghorn.
ROSS COUNTY: Fox, Burke, Boyce, Cikos (Van Der Weg, 20), Chow, Dow (Dingwall, 78), Fraser, McEveley, Routis, Davies, Curran (Schalk, 66).
SUBS: McCarey, Morrison, Dingwall, Franks, McShane.
BOOKED: McEveley, Chow, Dow, Dingwall, Routis, Burke.
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas
ATTENDANCE: 6590 (inc. 2347 Rangers supporters).