Peterhead’s finest hour

PETERHEAD’s stalwart travelling support were certainly rewarded for their loyalty on Saturday as their side romped home to an historical 2-1 victory at Ibrox.

The Blue Toon came from behind to record a stunning win against Rangers and have now secured themselves a play-off spot in the bid for promotion at the end of the season.

And in their current blistering form, who would bet against a return to Division 2 next season?

On-form Rory McAllister added again to his season’s tally with a sensational winner which sent the Blue Toon fans into seventh heaven.

Peterhead, who have now won six matches in a row, now sit second in the league level on points with Queen’s Park and four points ahead of Berwick Rangers.

Saturday’s game looked set to have a predictable outcome when, on just 12 minutes, Peterhead gifted the new Division 3 champions the lead when Dean Cowie’s misplaced pass put McCulloch through for Rangers.

Toon keeper Grame Smith dived at McCulloch’s fee, but the Rangers captain fired into an empty net on the rebound.

However, rather than see their heads go down, Peterhead kept up the pressure and McAllister came close just minutes later when he lobbied over the bar after good play by Cowie and Jamie Redman.

Rangers then came back at them and enjoyed a period of sustained pressure and they almost double their lead when McCulloch just missed getting on the end of a dangerous cross from Templeton.

Rangers came close yet again when, on 21 minutes McCulloch rounded the goalkeeper only to see his effort come off the woodwork.

However, the Blue Toon braved the barrage and shocked the home side when, on the 23rd minute, they levelled the score.

Ryan Strachan placed a short corner to McAllister before taking the return pass and crossing from Scott Ross who buried his header beyond Gers keeper Alexander.

Rangers came back yet again and it was Templeton who came close but his effort riccoched off the post as Peterhead rode their luck.

Templeton went close yet again just before half time, but he sent his effort wide of the post.

Minutes into the re-start Peterhead silenced the 43,000-strong home support when that man McAllister drilled his shot into the corner of the net, sending the Peterhead fans into rapture.

Despite a mountain of pressure from Rangers, Peterhead remained disciplined and refused to give up their hard-fought lead.

Indeed, McAllister had another couple of efforts which went close.

However, it was Peterhead goalkeeper Graeme Smith who proved hero when, in injury time, Smith picked out McCulloch who fired a shot at goal which was dramatically saved to secure a famous victory for the Blue Toon.

After the game a jubilant Jim McInally said that it was a great performance and a memorable result.

“I said to the players at half time that they had 45 minutes to create a bit of history and they produced a massive effort,” he said.

“I am very pleased with a number of aspects of our performance against Rangers and the way we played in front of a big crowd.

“Our two attackers and our two central defenders were terrific and our goalkeeper made a great save at the end.

“Having Rangers in this Division has made it different, but I think the whole Third Division has stepped up to the mark,” he added.

Commenting on only the second loss at Ibrox this season, Rangers manager Ally McCoist said: “!Full credit to Peterhead as they have been one of the tougher opponents in this league but we had too many poor performances.

“We should have been home and dry by half-time.”