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New board at Ibrox, but the same old problems remain at Rangers

Rangers 1 - 1 Queen of the South

By Gavin McCafferty

Rangers again failed to take off-field positivity on to the pitch as 17-year-old Queen of the South forward Aidan Smith marked his first league appearance with a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Ibrox.

There was plenty for the Rangers players to draw on with Ibrox great John Greig among a 35,018 crowd as a guest of the new-look board, but there was a lack of inspiration on the park with Queens coming closest in the first half when Michael Paton hit the post.

On a day when Newcastle owner Mike Ashley's associates Derek Llambias and Barry Leach were suspended by the club, Rangers looked like benefiting from one of their signings when on-loan St James' Park midfielder Haris Vuckic netted a scrappy goal in the 77th minute.

But Queens got the point their enterprise merited when Smith forced the ball home from close range with five minutes left after Lee Robinson had made a good save from Paton.

Rangers have now won just three times in 10 matches under reluctant caretaker boss Kenny McDowall and they missed the chance to draw level on points with Hibernian with the first of two games in hand.

The attendance was at least double recent Ibrox turnouts, but it took just over two minutes for the first signs of dissent from the stands as fans voiced their displeasure at how deep Rangers were sitting.

The two Nickys, Clark and Law, soon got Rangers up the park with a sweeping move, but the former curled a decent effort just wide.

Rangers were lacking purpose and direction in attack and their best chance of the half was a gift from the Queens goalkeeper.

A speculative drive from Vuckic was deflected but Zander Clark should have done a lot better than palm it straight out to John Daly, however he blazed over.

Vuckic sporadically looked a threat when Rangers managed to get the ball to him on the left and he shot a yard over under pressure and there was an air of desperation about the penalty appeals when he fell over the grounded Dan Carmichael.

McDowall turned to Tom Walsh for inspiration midway through the half as the 18-year-old came on for his second Rangers appearance, and his first since 2012, midway through the half.

There appeared little danger after Walsh's direct running was thwarted but the ball broke kindly for Vuckic despite the efforts of two defenders to meet a Lee Wallace cross and the Slovenian slotted home from eight yards.

But Queens picked themselves up and Carmichael got in behind the Gers defence before setting up Paton, whose shot eventually ended up at youngster Smith's feet to level.

Walsh had a shot well saved after a good late run as Queens held on.

Rangers: Robinson, McGregor, McCulloch, Zaliukas, Wallace (Mohsni 82), Hutton, Murdoch (Walsh 66), Clark, Law, Vuckic, Daly (Boyd 80). Substitutes: Black, Miller, Shiels, Simonsen.

Goals: Vuckic 77

Queen of the South: Alexander Clark, Millar (McKenna 76), Dowie, Higgins, Holt, McShane, Carmichael, Kidd, Russell, Paton (Pickard 89), Reilly (A Smith 83). Substitutes: Mitchell, Atkinson, Hooper, D Smith.

Goals: A Smith 86

Man of match: Haris Vuckic (Rangers)

Referee: John McKendrick

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