Scottish Premiership - Play-offs - 1st Leg
Queen of Sth1Rangers2

Queen of the South 1-2 Rangers

Dean Shiels scored the winning goal at Palmerston with a smart header
Dean Shiels scored the winning goal at Palmerston with a smart header

The predatory instincts of Dean Shiels were enough to provide Rangers with a slender advantage in the Premiership play-off quarter-final.

His 75th-minute header secured a lead from the first leg against a stubbornly assertive Queen of the South.

Rangers opened the scoring through Stevie Smith's brilliant free-kick.

Queens refused to be timid, though, and Derek Lyle equalised with a free header as the hosts continued to battle throughout an absorbing game.

That will remind Rangers of the dangers they face in the second leg at Ibrox next Sunday.

This display was shaped by previous experiences since Stuart McCall's tactics were influenced by how Queens won their last meeting so decisively at Palmerston.

Rangers had been stripped of their poise and spirit in that 3-0 defeat and much of the pre-match focus was on the psychology of the players.

This time, the visitors lined up in the same 3-5-2 shape as Queens and adopted the similar counter-attacking tactics.

Queens began with a greater sense of freedom, since the pressure of expectation was borne by Rangers, and they also had to manage the vulnerabilities of their back line.

The three home defenders were solid and dependable whereas Lee Wallace looked uncertain when the ball was played over his head and Marius Zaliukas was awkward and ungainly whenever the ball was near.

Even so, Rangers did not appear beset by nerves.

There was an early sight of goal for the Dumfries side when Daniel Carmichael's cross was met by Lyle who sent his header on target after rising above Wallace.

But Stuart McCall's team soon settled as Haris Vuckic was sprung behind the high Queens back line by Shiels only to pull his shot wide.

Moments later, a similar move saw Kenny Miller released, but he was erroneously judged offside before slipping the ball past goalkeeper Zander Clark.

There was a heavy reliance on the composure and discipline of Andy Murdoch, who was the deepest lying of Rangers' midfielders, tasked with closing down the creative Carmichael - who he followed everywhere like a scurrying, relentless shadow .

Queens came close when Mark Durnan headed over from Ian McShane's corner and, with the game in the balance, it took a moment of rashness just before the interval to provide a decisive opening.

Andy Dowie muscled into Vuckic 30 yards from goal and was penalised.

Smith measured up the situation and expertly clipped the free-kick into the top corner of Clark's goal.

Buoyed by their advantage, Rangers started the second half positively, with Miller's shot blocked by Clark and Smith's effort from the rebound was scrambled away.

Queens levelled through a free header from Derek Lyle
Queens levelled through a free header from Derek Lyle

The visitors remained focused on organisation and work-rate as they sought to remain too compact for Queens' promptings to lead to any clear chances.

Rangers' defensive flaws could not be wholly eradicated, though.

As Queens gathered a little momentum, they won a corner and used a a regular ploy that Rangers still could not cope with. As Ian McShane delivered the set-piece, Lyle spun from the front to the back where, unmarked, he headed past Cammy Bell.

Kevin Holt almost added a second for the home side, but his curling shot was tipped away by Bell. There was, then, a battle of nerve at play and individuals had to find the means to influence the outcome.

Vuckic, strong and assertive throughout, spread more concern through the Queens defence with a run and pass to Richard Foster, who dinked in a cross from the right and Shiels cleverly steered his header beyond Clark's reach.

It provided Rangers with something to defend, which they did stoutly, with the impressive Murdoch closing down space and shutting out opportunities.

Stevie Smith curled in a fantastic free-kick to give Ranges the lead at Palmerston
Stevie Smith curled in a fantastic free-kick to open the scoring

Line-ups

Queen of Sth

  • 1Clark
  • 4Dowie
  • 5Durnan
  • 6Higgins
  • 3Holt
  • 12KiddSubstituted forRussellat 83'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 14McKennaBooked at 28minsSubstituted forMillarat 59'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 18McShane
  • 17Carmichael
  • 10Reilly
  • 19LyleSubstituted forPatonat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Millar
  • 11Russell
  • 15Paton
  • 20Atkinson
  • 22Hooper
  • 24Smith
  • 28Pickard

Rangers

  • 1Bell
  • 23FosterBooked at 71mins
  • 26ZaliukasBooked at 66mins
  • 24McGregor
  • 5Wallace
  • 22Shiels
  • 7Law
  • 34Murdoch
  • 2SmithSubstituted forCrawfordat 62'minutes
  • 18Miller
  • 10VuckicSubstituted forClarkat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Black
  • 14Clark
  • 15Boyd
  • 21Crawford
  • 25Robinson
  • 28Streete
  • 48Walsh
Referee:
Alan Muir
Attendance:
5,224

Match Stats

Home TeamQueen of SthAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home12
Away9
Shots on Target
Home6
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away2
Fouls
Home13
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Queen of the South 1, Rangers 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Queen of the South 1, Rangers 2.

Foul by Iain Russell (Queen of the South).

Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Iain Russell (Queen of the South) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Mark Millar (Queen of the South) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Mark Millar (Queen of the South).

Robbie Crawford (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Iain Russell (Queen of the South) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Lee Wallace (Rangers).

Attempt missed. Daniel Carmichael (Queen of the South) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Queen of the South. Conceded by Marius Zaliukas.

Kevin Holt (Queen of the South) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Nicky Clark (Rangers).

Attempt missed. Kenny Miller (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Queen of the South. Iain Russell replaces Lewis Kidd.

Attempt missed. Dean Shiels (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Foul by Daniel Carmichael (Queen of the South).

Andy Murdoch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Nicky Clark replaces Haris Vuckic.

Attempt saved. Kevin Holt (Queen of the South) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Foul by Daniel Carmichael (Queen of the South).

Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Queen of the South. Michael Paton replaces Derek Lyle.

Goal!

Goal! Queen of the South 1, Rangers 2. Dean Shiels (Rangers) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Richard Foster.

Booking

Richard Foster (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Daniel Carmichael (Queen of the South) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Richard Foster (Rangers).

Attempt missed. Chris Higgins (Queen of the South) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

Corner, Queen of the South. Conceded by Cammy Bell.

Attempt saved. Kevin Holt (Queen of the South) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Daniel Carmichael (Queen of the South) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Robbie Crawford (Rangers).

Booking

Marius Zaliukas (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

Gavin Reilly (Queen of the South) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marius Zaliukas (Rangers).

Goal!

Goal! Queen of the South 1, Rangers 1. Derek Lyle (Queen of the South) header from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner following a corner.

Corner, Queen of the South. Conceded by Richard Foster.

Foul by Kevin Holt (Queen of the South).

Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

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