Stirling Albion 1 Rangers 0 – Scottish Third Division – 6th October 2012
After a challenging opening day to the season, Rangers began to find their feet in their new home. Big wins over the likes of Elgin city and East Stirlingshire at home were tempered with draws away to Berwick Rangers and Annan.
Either way, they were undefeated, and few would have predicted that their unbeaten run would end against a Stirling Albion side on a five-game losing streak. What transpired at Forthbank was a little piece of Scottish footballing history.
The manager Greig McDonald missed the game, as he was getting married. Defender Brian Allison insists that had no impact on their preparation for the game. “I think we could have been missing the whole coaching staff and it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I think the hardest part of your preparation for a game like that is to dream.
“Everybody was just buzzing. Some people have had the chance to play against Rangers before, but it doesn’t happen every week, especially if you’re a lower league player.”
Rangers away form had been extremely patchy, and on that Saturday at Forthbank they were looking for their first away league win of the season.
After just eight minutes, the Binos showed that they clearly hadn’t read the script, and took the lead. A corner from Mark Ferry was poorly defended, and Binos defender Allison was able to bundle the ball over the line.
Allison wasn’t known for his goalscoring talent, and he remembers the goal fondly. “It was different class. My dad and my wee brother were there. I think my dad had turned to my brother on the way through to the game and said ‘we’ll put a bet on Brian to score’ and obviously, they burst out laughing. They never put that bet on because I wasn’t prolific.”
“It could have really happened to anybody but it happened to myself, and obviously with not scoring a lot of goals, and being quite a well-documented Celtic fan it was one of they moments that to be honest you’ll never forget and cherish your whole life.”
Stirling Albion had 82 minutes to withstand an onslaught from the away side. Few teams would wish to score so early against such a superior opponent.
Rangers threw everything they had at The Binos, but they failed to take any of their chances.
Allison recalls a bruising afternoon spent marking Lee McCulloch. “It was some battle. Always fair, always honest but it was some battle. When you say ‘fair and honest’ there’s a different fair and honest in the first, second and third division than what there is in say the English Premier League.
“I broke my nose in that game. I jumped in to big Lee’s elbow. I think he was bleeding, I was bleeding, my other centre half partner Gary, I think, was bleeding. It was all good honest, old school football.”
The Binos held on for a famous victory. They were the first side to beat Rangers in their journey through the leagues.
Allison remembers the end of the game fondly, even if he was exhausted. “The boys were absolutely over the moon. We were buzzing.”