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Raith Rovers 0-1 Rangers: A flat performance but Halliday gives Gers all three points

Rangers were pretty poor against Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy, but managed to come away with a win anyway thanks to Andy Halliday.

This photo is not of the game, because Getty have neglected to send anyone to Kirkcaldy on a winter's Tuesday night. But it sums up how we may have felt at the time of the goal.
This photo is not of the game, because Getty have neglected to send anyone to Kirkcaldy on a winter's Tuesday night. But it sums up how we may have felt at the time of the goal.
Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Perhaps expectations have to be tempered for a dour midweek game in Kirkcaldy, but Rangers were largely pretty poor in seeing off Raith Rovers 1-0 on Tuesday night.

The usual domination of the ball was a theme for the game, although the occasional sluggishness in moving it forward with any particular haste, followed by suddenly switching to panicky, rushed decisions in the final third, returned from hibernation after a brief appearance towards the end of the last calendar year. Nonetheless, three points, job well done, and so on.

Rangers started as they meant go on by dominating the ball and prioritising possession when using it, although were too frequently slow and safe rather than looking to get it forward quickly. The result was a half full of plenty of touches and half-chances but few real quality opportunities.

Barrie McKay and James Tavernier looked like the most likely sources of some creativity, but while Rovers were awful on the ball, they defended well off it and managed to contain Rangers for most of the half. Rangers' first big chance came when a Tavernier free-kick struck the wall, before the right-back picked the ball up, skipped past two Rovers players and found Gedion Zelalem, who flicked the ball on to set Martyn Waghorn through on goal, but the striker couldn't divert it past the outstretched leg of the keeper.

The breakthrough finally came with some fine play, when Kenny Miller released tavernier down the right flank and his drilled cross was met by the onrushing Andy Halliday, who charged into the box to bundle it over the line. Rovers looked shaken, but the half-time whistle soon allowed them to regroup.

The second half was a sluggish affair, and the introduction of new signing MIchael O'Halloran, along with Harry Forrester and Dean Shiels, failed to provide much of a spark. In truth, Rangers were poor, but the opposition offered so little on the ball that the opportunity to be punished for complacency would quite clearly never come.