Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Sandaza calls for Rangers improvement

Rangers' Andy Little (7) bundles the ball over the line for the equaliser during the Scottish Division Three match at Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead
Rangers' Andy Little (7) bundles the ball over the line for the equaliser during the Scottish Division Three match at Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead

Peterhead 2 Rangers 2: Francisco Sandaza admits Rangers must learn the lessons from Saturday’s Irn-Bru Third Division opener against Peterhead.

The Ibrox side had hoped to kick off their campaign in the bottom tier in style but were forced to battle for a 2-2 draw at Balmoor instead.

The clash was Rangers' first league fixture outside of Scottish football's top-flight, having been denied entry to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League when the club were consigned to liquidation.

Manager Ally McCoist has recruited SPL-standard players — including former St Johnstone striker Sandaza — but they were handed a tough introduction to the Scottish Football League and the Spaniard knows they have to adapt quickly.

He said: “It's a lesson for us and we have to learn from this result. It was the first game in the league and we will just respect every team that we play against and keep working.

“We have to take this result as a positive thing for the future.”

Barrie McKay opened the scoring for Rangers before second half goals from Rory McAllister and Scott McLaughlin saw Peterhead surge into the lead.

However, their hopes of claiming all three points were dashed when Kevin Kyle's header was nudged over the line by Andy Little with a minute to go.

Sandaza also had a great opportunity to find the back of the net when he tried to chip Paul Jarvie and lofted straight into the goalkeeper's hands instead.

The striker — who signed for Rangers on Tuesday — said: “I haven't been in competition for three months and have been training on my own.

“Obviously I am not 100%. It's my first week here but I didn't expect to miss a chance.

“I don't want to blame myself now but hopefully in a couple of weeks my fitness will be back and I'll be fine.”

McCoist believes there were positives to take from a disappointing encounter — namely the performances of youngsters McKay and Lewis McLeod.

He said: “They will keep coming on. I'm delighted with the way these boys are progressing and that is without doubt a positive.

“Taking them off was in no way a reflection of how they were playing.”

Blue Toon boss Jim McInally said: “It was terrific in the second half. I didn't want to see them just stopping Rangers from scoring, I wanted them to take part.

“I said at half-time to go out and have a go — and they did.”

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