Number Five: ‘Wee’ Teams That Shocked Rangers

Rangers 1 Annan Athletic 2 – Scottish Third Division – 9 March 2013

Perhaps, in a strange way, their first league defeat of the season to Stirling Albion (who may appear later in this list…), was just what Rangers needed. That sparked new life in to the side, and set them on a much-improved run of form. They were undefeated in the league between October and March, with only a couple of disappointing draws along the way.

Ibrox was a fortress. There was no conceivable way that Rangers would drop points at home. The same people that had first predicted an unbeaten season would surely have revised their prediction to a season unbeaten at home after they lost away to Stirling Albion.

It was easy for teams to host Rangers on their small pitches with cramped dressing rooms, but Ibrox was a different story. Indeed, several teams left Ibrox having been hammered by the home side. It was going to take something special to beat them on their own patch.

In the build up to this game, the then popular chairman Charles Green, said this Rangers side was “probably the worst” ever. Perhaps not the most motivational statement a chairman could make.

Indeed, Annan had some confidence going in to the game. Striker Ally Love, currently playing for Brechin City explains. “To be honest with you, we had the players in the team that were quietly confident that we could get a result. It was a close knit dressing room and we’d a good squad at the time.”

As the first half ended goalless, there was an understandable level of frustration in the ground. Annan Athletic should not have caused problems for the wealth of talent in the home side that day. Love says: “Rangers were absolutely pounding us for a spell, and you just felt as if every decision was going their way. We could feel the crowd definitely getting on at them, and to be honest you noticed the players getting frustrated on the park as well.”

Things got worse after the restart when Love opened the scoring to make it 1-0. Love recalls: “It was class, it was a great feeling, but at the same time it was strange as well because the place just went really silent.”

David Hopkin then scored to see Annan taking a two-goal lead. It was unthinkable. Love recalls his disbelief at the time: “We couldn’t believe it. To go 2-0 up on Rangers away at Ibrox was, for a team like Annan, it was unbelievable.”

What followed was half an hour of pressure from the home side.

Rangers fought back with a goal from Andy Little, but they were unable to equalise. A disastrous day for the Gers turned in a famous day for the Galabankies.

Love describes the celebrations as the full time whistle was blown. “It was mayhem. The boys were absolutely ecstatic. We had our team night out, because we were playing Rangers at Ibrox our team night out was in Glasgow that night.

“I think everyone was in bed for 10 o’clock, we were that knackered. It was great, after the game there was a bit of ‘did that actually happen, did we just beat Rangers at Ibrox?’”

Match report

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