Despite coasting towards the Scottish Third Division title, the pressure will continue to mount on Rangers manager Ally McCoist after his side were held to a goalless draw by Montrose.
The runaway leaders knew a victory coupled with Queen’s Park failing to beat Elgin later in the day would have seen the trophy officially head to Ibrox.
The home side had made four changes from the side that defeated East Stirling last Saturday, with Sandy Wood dropping to the bench, while Jonathan Crawford and Craig McLeish missing out and Paul Lunan suspended.
Taking their places were John Gibson, Alan Campbell and Jamie Winter, as well as former Livingston and Airdrie United defender Cammy MacDonald, who lined up for the Gable Endies as a trialist.
Ibrox boss Ally McCoist was able to welcome back two experienced faces from the side that was forced to settle for a goalless draw at home to Stirling Albion, with Ian Black and David Templeton both returning in the place of youngsters Fraser Aird and Barrie McKay.
The first effort of the game came for the league leaders as Templeton received the ball 25 yards from goal and unleashed a volley that Gibson was forced to beat away.
Rangers should have claimed the lead with 17 minutes gone, as Lee Wallace lined up with Templeton on the left wing, which saw the 25-year-old full back race in on goal, but his strike deflected off of a Montrose defender and out for a corner.
Midway through the first half was when the Montrose finally got their first shot on target, as Winter let fly from long range, but his strike deflected off of Emilson Cribari and into the grateful arms of Neil Alexander.
With less than eight minutes to go until the break, the home side had a glorious chance to take the lead, after a superb cross from the right by Stephen McInally found the head of Martin Boyle, but the on-loan Dundee striker couldn’t direct his effort on target.
The visitors almost gifted Montrose the opener at the start of the second half, as a poor pass out of defence by Cribari was met by David Gray, who unleashed a drive from the edge of the area that whistled over Alexander’s bar.
Almost a minute after almost going behind, Rangers nearly took the lead, as a long ball to the left by Black found Wallace and he in turn searched out Kane Hemmings, who swivelled and fired towards goal, only for Gibson to save the effort.
Montrose thought they had taken the lead when Alexander punched a cross into the path of Terry Masson, whose strike was dropped by the Rangers stopper, but referee Kevin Clancy came to his rescue, awarding a free kick in his favour for a challenge by Gary Wood as Boyle poked the ball into an empty net.
The closing stages saw the home side have the better of the attempts, with Winter and Paul Watson having efforts, but they couldn’t find the finish to seal a famous victory.