John Daly delivers goal as Rangers edge way into Ramsdens cup final
Rangers 1 Stenhousemuir 0: Rangers booked their place in the final of the Ramsdens Cup in unconvincing style after scraping a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir.
The Light Blues may be hot favourites to win the trophy but they made hard work of the last four tie at Ochilview.
A second half goal from Jon Daly – who netted a hat-trick at the weekend – was all that separated the two sides on the night.
The slim victory was in stark contrast to the 8-0 thrashing Rangers handed out to Stenny in a Scottish League One match at Ibrox last month.
This time around, the best of the chances fell to Arnold Peralta and Nicky Law, who were both denied by the woodwork, before Daly netted the decisive goal with just over 15 minutes to go.
Rangers will contest the silverware with Raith Rovers on April 6 at a venue yet to be decided.
Rangers – who named an unchanged side from the one who defeated East Fife 4-0 at the weekend – started brightly.
Referee Bobby Madden had a big call to make after just six minutes when Daly went to ground under pressure from Ross McMillan. Despite the Irishman's furious protests, there was no penalty award from the match official.
Rangers kept up the pressure and Daly turned provider when he nodded down for Nicky Clark but his snap-shot was claimed by Stenny keeper Smith.
At the other end, Stenhousemuir had the chance to crank up the heat with a free-kick just outside the box only for Sean Higgins to blast well over.
Rangers still looked more likely to open the scoring and Peralta saw a ferocious shot smash off the crossbar, before Law nodded wide from the rebound.
Moments later, Law was also denied by the woodwork when his own effort crashed off the bar, as the tie remained goalless with half-time approaching.
Stenhousemuir emerged for the second half looking more dangerous and Cammy Bell was called into action to block from Ferguson.
The Warriors then squandered a great chance to take the lead just after the hour mark. Bell raced off his line in an attempt to close down Ferguson, who slid into the path of Darren Smith and he somehow failed to hit the target with the gaping net at his mercy.
Rangers made their first change after 65 minutes, with Peralta making way for the introduction of David Templeton.
Clark was then swapped for Andy Little before Rangers eventually opened the scoring after 74 minutes.
Goalkeeper Smith attempted to gather a long ball from the left from Bilel Mohsni but instead allowed Daly to nip in and nod into the back of the net.
Law then unleashed a shot that flashed across goal and wide of the post as Rangers tried to end any hopes of a Stenny comeback.
Skipper Lee McCulloch saw his header skim the bar with a couple of minutes to go, as the Ibrox side held on for the narrow win.
* Celtic striker Anthony Stokes has signed a new three-year contract. Stokes has been a key player for Celtic after returning from a lengthy injury lay-off towards the end of last season.