SPL: Rangers 1 Dunfermline 1: 05/12/98
Manager Bert Paton wrung the changes as threatened in midweek.
Central defenders Jamie Squires and Craig Ireland were axed suggesting that the manager held them responsible for the last two defeats at the hands of Hearts and Kilmarnock. Skipper Andy Smith played in the centre of midfield allowing Hamish French to come in to play wide on the right.
Things started well enough but in 16 minutes when an Andrei Kanchelskis cross was cleared by Shields only as far as Van Bronkhurst whose left footed shot from fully 20 yards beat Lee Butler at his bottom left.
Edinho created a chance in 27 minutes but his shot was way wide. Lee Butler brilliantly saved a Stephane Guivarc`h header.
In the second half Rangers had the ball in the net in the 49th minute but the assistant referee had flagged for the ball having gone out of play for a goal kick.
Four minutes later Edinho put in a good cross from the right but David Graham completely mishit his shot from 12 yards.
Fourteen minutes from time a Hamish French free kick forced a mistake in the Rangers defence and substitute Stewart PETRIE scored with almost his first touch of the ball. The super sub steered an 8 yard effort home through keeper Niemi`s legs to the delight of the 350 Pars fans in the Broomloan Stand immediately behind the goal.
Andy Smith had the chance to cause a real upset but he didn`t connect the cross from the right. Dunfermline survived two Rangers efforts for the winner as one shot was blocked on the line and another cannoned off Butler`s left hand post. This was a far more disciplined performance than in recent weeks and the management must take the praise for the changes in approach.
Meanwhile at Rugby Park Aberdeen were leaking goals in a display that Gordon Smith described as one sided and the worst Aberdeen side that he had seen for a long time. Alex Miller must stay as the Pars look forward to taking three points from Motherwell next Saturday.
DUNFERMLINE: Lee Butler; Richard Huxford, Greg Shields, Andy Tod, Scott McCulloch; Hamish French, Ian Ferguson (John Fraser 93), Andy Smith, Gavin Johnson; David Graham (Stewart Petrie 72), Edinho (Marc Millar 68).
SUBS NOT USED: Ian Westwater, Martin
Yellow cards: Huxford (66)
League position 9th
Referee: Willie Young (Clarkston)
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