Scottish Championship
RangersRangers2MortonGreenock Morton2

Rangers 2-2 Greenock Morton

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland at Ibrox
Greenock Morton
Morton led late on through Stefan McCluskey's goal

Rangers remain top of the Scottish Championship despite being held to a draw by a stubbornly resilient Greenock Morton side.

The visitors at Ibrox were never subdued, even when Kenny Miller scored after less than two minutes.

A James Tavernier own goal and a well-crafted finish by Stefan McCluskey put Morton in front.

They could only hold the lead for one minute, though, with Martyn Waghorn equalising from Lee Wallace's cut-back.

There was a sombre moment before kick-off, when the stadium united in paying silent respects to Arnold Peralta, the former Rangers midfielder who was shot dead in Honduras on Friday.

Rangers started well and Wallace made a typical bullish run down the left and prompted Connor Pepper, the Morton right-back, to barge him over.

Tavernier swept in the free-kick, and Miller rose to head the ball down and past the Morton goalkeeper Grant Adam.

The visitors could have been alarmed by conceding such an early goal, but there was time enough to regroup. Rangers can hoard possession, and for a spell there was a sprightliness of foot and thought by Gideon Zelalem, Barry McKay and Jason Holt that moved the ball around in bewitching patterns of play.

Ruthlessness is sometimes treated as an inconvenience, though, by Mark Warburton's side.

Stefan McCluskey goal
Stefan McCluskey (left) watches his shot go into the net to give Morton a late lead

Time and again, Rangers progressed to the edge of the Morton penalty area, only to then clutter up their play by moving the ball around looking for intricate passing angles for through balls. There seemed an unwillingness to move the ball down the flanks and sling crosses into the penalty area, so Morton stood firm and gained confidence and prominence with a series of counter-attacks that caused the home defence to reel.

One break up field eventually delivered, with McCluskey working the ball to Denny Johnstone, whose cross was turned past Wes Foderingham by Tavernier. It was an awkward attempt to clear the ball, but avoidable since he wasn't under any immediate pressure.

Rangers had spurned a couple of chances before then, Miller side-footing a shot straight at Adam and Rob Kiernan heading over, but they seldom broke beyond the Morton backline, which was sitting deep.

The visitors could hold firm to their game plan, since the onus was on Rangers to try to win the game and counter-attacking opportunities would be left in the wake of that ambition. The opening spell of the second-half was evidence of that, since the lively Bobby Barr raced up field behind Tavernier, gathered the ball, ran into the area and then stubbed his shot wide.

Rangers had not shaken off their tendency to be over-elaborate around the penalty area. Before they created a clear chance after the break, Johnstone swept a shot on target from inside the area, but Foderingham smothered the ball.

Rangers were less composed and playing with less authority than during the opening half. They kept probing the Morton defence, though, and there were half chances when Waghorn swept in a cross that Nicky Clark couldn't quite reach with his head, then Waghorn saw an effort from close range pushed away by Adam.

The game fell into a spell of scrappiness, which suited the visitors. They tried to buy time whenever they could, but they also knew that the Rangers defence was occasionally vulnerable. They took advatnage of that when Adam's long kick was flicked on by Johnstone. Kiernan should have dealt with the situation, but was robbed by McCluskey and he curled a shot past Foderingham.

Rangers were stung, but that prompted an urgency that contributed to a quick equaliser. There was immediate pressure on Morton, and Wallace raced down the left before crossing into the box, where Waghorn swept a first-time shot past Adam and into the net.

The game opened up in the final minutes, but neither side could capitalise, with Jason Holt blasting over in the final act.

Line-ups

Rangers

  • 25Foderingham
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6BallBooked at 44mins
  • 4Kiernan
  • 5Wallace
  • 8ZelalemSubstituted forShielsat 61'minutes
  • 16Halliday
  • 23Holt
  • 33Waghorn
  • 9MillerSubstituted forClarkat 61'minutes
  • 19McKaySubstituted forOduwaat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Oduwa
  • 14Clark
  • 22Shiels
  • 27Wilson
  • 32Kelly
  • 42Hardie
  • 45Thompson

Morton

  • 20Adam
  • 15PepperBooked at 35mins
  • 2Kilday
  • 4O'Ware
  • 17Russell
  • 16BarrBooked at 45minsSubstituted forStevensonat 90+1'minutes
  • 6MillerSubstituted forLamieat 88'minutes
  • 7McKee
  • 8Forbes
  • 11McCluskeyBooked at 74minsSubstituted forSamuelat 89'minutes
  • 9Johnstone

Substitutes

  • 1Gaston
  • 3Lamie
  • 12Scullion
  • 18Samuel
  • 22Sabajo
  • 34Orr
  • 35Stevenson
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
41,816

Match Stats

Home TeamRangersAway TeamMorton
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home22
Away7
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home11
Away3
Fouls
Home6
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Rangers 2, Morton 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Rangers 2, Morton 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jason Holt (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Morton. Dylan Stevenson replaces Bobby Barr.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ricki Lamie.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Morton. Alex Samuel replaces Stefan McCluskey.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Morton. Ricki Lamie replaces Michael Miller.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jason Holt (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  10. Goal!

    Goal! Rangers 2, Morton 2. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Lee Wallace.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nicky Clark (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  12. Goal!

    Goal! Rangers 1, Morton 2. Stefan McCluskey (Morton) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

  13. Post update

    Nicky Clark (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Joe McKee (Morton).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nathan Oduwa (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Mark Russell.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Lee Kilday.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lee Wallace (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ross Forbes (Morton) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Morton. Conceded by Dominic Ball.