Gills extend lead, Gulls flying

Rangers manager Ally McCoist described his side as being “miles

short” of the required standard after they were held 0-0 at home by

Stirling.

McCoist’s side were booed off at the final whistle as they

continue to stumble towards the Scottish Third Division title.

Lone striker Kane Hemmings and left-back Lee Wallace spurned

some early chances for Rangers.

Instead it was the visitors who went closest to grabbing the

winner when Jordan White had a header cleared off the line and

McCoist admitted they had come up short on the day.

“It was a disappointing 90 minutes for everybody. It was not a

good game at all,” he said.

“From our own point of view, our best chances were probably

early on. Kane had a couple and Lee (Wallace) had a chance. After

that, it was just a frustrating 90 minutes.

“There was an option, we could probably have moved Lee

(McCulloch) up front.

“He was probably the only centre-forward we have on our books

that could have moved up but with the greatest of respect Lee has

made the defence look more solid in the last couple of games.

“If we are going to take a positive, which I always will look

for as well, we have had a couple of clean sheets.

“But in terms of creating chances and taking chances, we are

miles short of where we want to be.”

Even a victory for Rangers would not have been enough to

guarantee them the title, after nearest rivals Queen’s Park’s game

at Annan was postponed.

But McCoist remained disappointed by their failure to take the

three points, although he did cite a lack of player options as a

mitigating factor.

Francisco Sandaza is currently suspended for an off-field

disciplinary matter, while Ian Black is serving a ban and Andy

Little is on international duty with Northern Ireland.

McCoist was therefore forced into naming 18-year-old midfielder

Andy Murdoch on the substitutes’ bench.

“I told you at the start of the season we need players. We had

seven or eight players out. That will tell you where we are,” he

added.

“I will probably go down in history as the only Rangers manager

that has ever struggled to fill a bench. We spent yesterday morning

looking at our kids, our youth players.”

But despite such concerns, McCoist insists he is not unduly

bothered as long as they go on to claim the Third Division

crown.

“We have to win the title, which is what we set out to do at the

start of the year, and then we have to get a team that will win the

next title, albeit we don’t know what title it will be,” he

said.

Gillingham were the big winners on a day in which half the

League Two fixtures fell foul of the weather.

The matches at Rotherham, Burton, Chesterfield, Port Vale and

Rochdale were all postponed, while Bradford’s clash Bristol Rovers

was called off yesterday.

It left a limited set of fixtures in which Martin Allen’s Gills

moved eight points clear at the top.

Matt Fish’s superb 24th-minute strike proved the difference at

Priestfield, where Gillingham comfortably defeated struggling

Accrington 1-0.

Northampton are up to fourth in the table after a 1-0 win at

home to Oxford, courtesy of a Ben Harding goal in first half

stoppage-time.

Fleetwood kept their play-off hopes alive after coming from

behind to defeat Dagenham and Redbridge 2-1 at Highbury

Stadium.

Medy Elito’s penalty put the visitors ahead in the fifth minute,

only for Junior Brown to equalise immediately and Gareth Evans to

complete the turnaround in the second half.

AFC Wimbledon gave their survival chances a major boost with a

2-0 home with over Morecambe, thanks to first half goals from Kevin

Sainte-Luce and Jack Midson.

Edgar Davids’ Barnet were held to a 0-0 draw at home to

mid-table Cheltenham, while York remain in the bottom two after

defeat at fellow strugglers Torquay.

Richard Cresswell’s second half penalty and a Tom Cruise red

card set up a nervy ending, but earlier goals from Elliot Benyon

and Ryan Jarvis proved enough in a 2-1 win.