Falkirk 3-2 Rangers: Last gasp glory for the Bairns after stunning comeback
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 18/03/16 10:18pm
Rangers suffered a surprising setback in their Championship title charge as they blew a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Falkirk at the Falkirk Stadium.
Early goals from Kenny Miller and Barrie McKay had seemingly set the visitors on their way, but they failed to capitalise on possession and numerous chances, before a spectacular strike from Blair Alston and then a Myles Hippolyte goal brought Falkirk level in the second half.
There was further drama to come, however, as substitute Bob McHugh popped up to prod the ball into the net into time added on to seal the points for the hosts after a much-improved second period.
Rangers went into the match knowing they needed just four wins to guarantee the Championship title and would have expected second-placed Falkirk to provide stern competition as they were the last side to beat Mark Warburton's team in all competitions back on December 19.
However, that did not prove to be the case in the first half as Rangers blew the home side away in the opening 10 minutes, taking advantage of the Falkirk defence playing a high line at the back.
James Tavernier had the ball in the net three minutes in after linking up well with Miller but his effort was wrongly chalked off, with replays showing the full-back had been played onside by Aaron Muirhead.
It did not take long for Rangers to make the breakthrough, however, as Tavernier raced on to Dominic Ball's measured pass before cutting the ball back for Miller who tapped into the empty net after seven minutes.
A minute later it was 2-0 as Rangers again breached the Falkirk backline, this time captain Lee Wallace racing clear to latch on to Miller's pass to square the ball back for McKay who again had the goal at his mercy from two yards.
McKay had chances to make it 3-0 shortly afterwards when he rounded Danny Rogers in the Falkirk goal but he failed to force his shot over the line before flashing a ball across the face of the six-yard box moments later.
Andy Halliday and Wallace then forced Rogers into saves with efforts from distance before Jason Holt had the ball in the net for the visitors again but he was rightly called offside after getting on the end of Miller's pass.
The away side started the second half the way they had ended the first, with Miller sending an effort just wide of the post before Halliday robbed Muirhead in possession on the edge of the Falkirk box but he fired just past the past from a tight angle.
The hosts started to come into the game on the hour mark when Will Vaulks' curling effort was pushed away by a diving Wes Foderingham before the goalkeeper denied substitute Hippolyte from the edge of the box.
Substitute Michael O'Halloran missed a good opportunity for Rangers before Falkirk capitalised on slack defending to score twice in the space of five minutes to draw level.
First Alston pounced upon a mistake by Ball on the edge of the box to fire a fantastic, first-time effort into the top corner, leaving Foderingham with no chance.
Rob Kiernan was then guilty of taking a heavy touch on the edge of his 18-yard box, before Hippolyte found space to round Foderingham and smash the ball into the net.
And the home side completed a scarcely believable turnaround one minute into stoppage time when Kevin O'Hara's low cross into the box was prodded in at the near post by McHugh.