Queen of the South manager James Fowler proud of display

Derek Lyle (19) opened the scoring for Queen of the South
Derek Lyle (19) opened the scoring for Queen of the South

Queen of the South manager James Fowler paid tribute to his side for standing up to Rangers in their 1-1 play-off draw at Ibrox.

Derek Lyle headed the Doonhamers in front in the first half to level the tie at 2-2, but Lee Wallace found a second half goal to put Rangers through to the Scottish Premiership play-off semi-final.

"The players were excellent. When Rangers had us under the cosh, we stood up," Fowler told BBC Scotland.

"We tweaked the shape and the players take on everything you ask of them and towards the end they were really unfortunate not to get another goal."

Rangers had most of the first half and would have felt aggrieved at being 1-0 behind at the interval.

However, the visitors forced a series of corners late on in the game as the pushed for a goal that would have taken the game to extra-time.

"The momentum of the game changes," Fowler said. "We were throwing everything at them. If we had got that second goal we could have taken that confidence in to extra-time but it wasn't to be.

"Rangers had us pegged back and we changed the formation and then we grew into the game. We weathered that storm. We got the lead and it was a real positive."

A pivotal moment of the game was when, with the scores at 1-0, Gavin Reilly was set free on the Rangers goal only for poor control to let him down.

Fowler said: "Gav's strength is running through. I think it has maybe skidded up off the surface and got caught between his feet and he has taken a heavy touch.

"He has been excellent for us the whole season and he's only young as well.

"I'm sure it will stay in his mind for a wee while but it's about us picking him up and getting him over it."

Queen of the South players applaud the travelling fans at full time
Queen of the South players applaud the travelling fans at full time

While Rangers will now face Hibernian to determine who plays Motherwell in the play-off final, Queen of the South are resigned to at least another season in the Championship, and Fowler is determined to be at the heart of trying to win promotion.

He said: "I've had great support from the board and the chairman, which is pleasing as a young manager in my first season.

"The players have been magnificent from the day I took over.

"I didn't look to change too much because it was working before under Jim McIntyre, but you put your own stamp on it as you grow through the season.

"The players have bought in to what we are trying to do. Their work ethic is up there with the best that I've seen."

He added: "There will be some players moving on and there might be some bids for some of the players.

"There has been a fair bit of interest in the younger ones, but special mention to the older ones as well - (Chris) Higgins, (Andrew) Dowie, (Derek) Lyle, (Iain) Russell, (Stephen) McKenna - sometimes they get overlooked."

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