Gulliver in the land of Lilliput is how most will view the inevitably short stay for Rangers in the fourth tier of Scottish football but the one-time giants were almost left with a bloody nose.
After going a goal down and being pummelled at the start of the second half, Peterhead looked unlikely to take anything from the game until a piece of class from Rory McAllister and a piledriver from Scott McLaughlin took the Blue Toon to a minute of an unlikely victory.
The circus that will follow Rangers whenever they go on their travels rolled into town along with a posse of journalists and miles of Sky cables to bring the news, surely, of a comfortable win to start the bandwagon rolling.
Come the end of the season there is little doubt where the Glasgow side will finish with a squad of highly paid internationalists and it’s hard to imagine them dropping many points at Ibrox. However, on the road, if the performance of Peterhead here is anything to go by, the underdogs will certain put up a fight.
That was exactly what the Blue Toon did and took the game to the visitors with some early pressure that brought a couple of corners before another in the 12th minute went oh so close. A McLaughlin corner kick from the right found the head of McAllister and it took a clearance from 17 year old Barrie McKay at the post to prevent an opener.
The visitors always looked a threat coming forward but the Peterhead goal wasn’t unduly troubled until a simple move and a clinical finish saw them go in front after 27 minutes. Lewis McLeod sent a long ball forward from midfield, Lee McCulloch headed on to McKay and he fired the ball past Paul Jarvie from 12 yards.
Still the home side took the game to Rangers and McAllister shot weakly at Neil Alexander on the quarter hour before McAllister squandered a glorious opportunity ten minutes before the break. A free kick from Ryan Strachan picked out the striker to the left of goal but he dragged his shot beyond the far post. This was not to be the day of the underdog, we thought.
Rangers began the second half looking in the mood to steamroll the Blue Toon with the home side barely able to get a touch but the second goal never came and the scent of an equaliser could be detected in the nostrils of the Balmoor faithful.
After 55 minutes a curling shot from McAllister was heading into the postage stamp corner until Alexander produced a wonder save to touch the ball onto the crossbar and over for a corner kick.
Then after 64 minutes it was all square. The Rangers defence made a pig’s ear of trying to clear a cross and McAllister showed his class to turn sharply and place a shot beyond Alexander for a totally deserved leveller.
Back came the visitors and a mix of poor finishing from Carlos Bocanegra and sub Francisco Sandaza and some exceptional goalkeeping from Paul Jarvie kept them at bay.
Eight minutes from time Peterhead took the lead to set Balmoor rocking. It was simple but stunning goal – A Strachan corner from the left saw Alexander punch clear with the steam taken out of it by a deflection off a defender allowing McLaughlin to flash a volley into the roof of the net from just inside the penalty box. Wow !
Peterhead fans dared to dream while Rangers players, management and fans suddenly looked worried.
They kept plugging away as one would expect a full time side to do and in the dying embers of the game they grabbed a point. It was a scruffy effort. A Shield corner from the right, a towering header from man mountain Kevin Kyle which struck the underside of the crossbar and got stuck between Graeme Sharp and Jarvie on the line and Andy Little managed to get a bit of his knee on the ball and nudge it over the line.
Yes, it was annoying to lose a late goal but over the piece a draw was about right and let’s face it, who of a Peterhead persuasion wouldn’t have taken that before kick-off?
If manager Jim McInally can just squeeze this sort of performance out of his side for most of the other league games, a play-off place should be a distinct possibility.
PETERHEAD: Jarvie, Sharp, Noble, Scott Ross, MacDonald, Cowie (Deasley 86), Strachan, Redman (Bavidge 58), McAllister (McGuire 83), Winters (Bavidge 69), McLaughlin. Subs (not used): McCallum, McBain.