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Shiels takes plaudits for resilient Gers

Falkirk 1-3 Rangers

By Andy Newport

Rangers boss Ally McCoist insists Dean Shiels still has an Ibrox future after the Northern Irishman made a goal-scoring return to action.

The Light Blues booked a place in Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final draw as they claimed a 3-1 win away to Falkirk.

Shiels had registered just four substitute appearances before the match after falling behind Kris Boyd, Kenny Miller and Nicky Clark in the Gers' pecking order.

But he made the most of Clark and Miller's absences through injury when he fired the League One champions ahead after Owain Tudur-Jones' own-goal had cancelled out his Bairns team-mate Rory Loy's opener.

Asked if the former Kilmarnock playmaker still had a future at the club, McCoist said: "Absolutely. Shiels is different in very few players can play in the hole and link up when you go 4-4-1-1. Shiels is ideally suited to do that.

"We've got a lot of direct frontmen whether it's Boydy, Miller, Jon Daly or Nicky Clark. If you're looking for someone to drop off into that hole Dean is perfect to do that.

"He scores goals too. Look at his record. He was out injured for a period last season but he scores. Anyone who does that will have a future here."

Loy took advantage of a mistake by visiting keeper Steve Simonsen to fire Falkirk ahead after five minutes.

But his close-range finish was then levelled just 90 seconds later when Tudur-Jones redirected Stevie Smith's dangerous cross past Jamie MacDonald.

Rangers were made to battle but grabbed the lead 20 minutes into the second half when Shiels outpaced defender David McCracken to score before Ian Black put the seal on the win in stoppage time with a 25-yard looping effort.

But Falkirk claimed they were due a penalty seconds before Black's clincher when Bilel Mohsni appeared to handle the ball as he rushed to close down Loy in the box - only for referee Alan Muir to wave away their claims.

"I felt were denied a stonewall penalty kick," said Bairns boss Peter Houston. "Rory has taken a bad touch but it has smacked up off the boy's arm and the players are adamant it was a penalty.

"I have no idea why the referee didn't give it. The rule is if your arm is up in the box you and it hits it, then it's a penalty kick. Unfortunately, the referee never saw it the way I saw it."

But McCoist insisted Muir had called it right.

He said: "There's no doubt it hit his hand but deliberate handball? Not for me. I'll watch it again and stand corrected if need be but I didn't think it was deliberate."

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