Rangers 1-0 Berwick: Aird winner starts title party for hosts

The Ibrox side seal victory over the Borderers as they receive the Third Division trophy after what has been one of the most troubling periods in the Glasgow giants’ history
Rangers youngster Fraser Aird helped kick-off the title party at Ibrox, as the Third Division champions celebrated lifting the trophy with a 1-0 win over Berwick Rangers.

The Borderers had a reason to celebrate as well, as results elsewhere meant Ian Little’s side secured fourth place and a playoff semi-final place against either East Fife or Stranraer.

Ally McCoist made three changes from the side that defeated East Stirling, with Kal Naismith, Robbie Crawford and Emilson Cribari dropping out, with Aird, Lewis McLeod who returned after three months out, while youngster Luca Gasparotto was handed his first start.

The visitors made three alterations, with Lee Currie suspended, Darren Lavery and Dylan Easton dropping to the bench from the side that lost to Annan Athletic, with Dean Hoskins, Fraser MacLaren and Scott Dalziel taking their places.

The back four for the Glasgow giants was vastly different to the one that took the field against Peterhead in August, with Lee Wallace injured; while Kirk Broadfoot left for Blackpool and Carlos Bocanegra and Doian Goian were sent out on-loan to Racing Santander and Spezia respectively.

Playing in front of a full house at Ibrox, the Third Division champions looked to give their fans something to cheer about early on, but only muster a free kick from David Templeton that sailed over to show for their work in the opening quarter of an hour.

Just after the half hour mark the home side took the lead after good work from Andy Mitchell as he found Kyle Hutton on the left wing and his in-swinging cross was met by the head of Aird, who powered the ball into the net to officially start the party at Ibrox.

With seven minutes gone in the second period, Berwick almost got back on level terms as Devon Jacobs floated a cross from the right onto the head of Dalziel, but the striker’s effort towards goal was tipped round the post by Neil Alexander for a corner.

A minute later the home side almost claimed a second of the game as Mitchell decided to try his luck from almost 35-yards out, but the ball managed to drift just past the left hand post of Marc McCallum in the Berwick goal.

Rangers continued to pile on the pressure, with McLeod trying his luck at goal, after being put through by Templeton, but the young midfielder couldn’t find the target with his close range effort.

The home side continued to press, with some superb passing, involving Templeton, Ian Black and Lee McCulloch, who set-up substitute Kane Hemmings for a strike, but the English striker could only blaze his effort over the bar.

McCulloch was up next to attempt to extend the lead, but once again the Berwick defence stood firm to deny the Rangers skipper a goal before he went up to lift the league title.

Despite failing to add to their lead and impress the 50,048 inside Ibrox, many of whom had decided to leave early, Rangers secured the victory and celebrated lifting the Third Division crown.