Rangers survived a Brechin fightback and a red card shown to defender Bilel Mohsni to maintain their 23-point advantage in Scottish League One.

Dean Shiels was the Ibrox side's most creative player but was substituted when Mohsni was sent off in 61 minutes.

The forward fired home after 14 minutes and Jon Daly headed a second before the interval to put Rangers in charge.

But Steven Robb's great strike seven minutes after the restart ensured a nervy second half for the home side.

Rangers kicked-off without Lewis Macleod as a persistent calf problem ruled the teenager out.

But manager Ally McCoist did still have Lee Wallace at his disposal after the cash-strapped Gers managed to stave off two Nottingham Forest bids before the January window closed.

This time they went in search of an early opening, only for Brechin keeper Graeme Smith to twice deny them in the first five minutes as he made impressive saves from David Templeton and then Shiels.

But there was nothing Smith could do as Shiels collected the ball in the corner of the 18-yard box before bending a shot into the net to open the scoring.

And the keeper was just as blameless as the second goal arrived after 25 minutes. Darren Petrie's body check on Sebastien Faure handed Rangers a free-kick just outside the City box and from Wallace's teasing delivery Daly added a faint touch with his head to take it into the net.

But that was as good as it got for Rangers.

Mohsni collected the first booking with 10 minutes of the half left after a clumsy swipe felled Jonathan Brown, before referee Stevie O'Reilly flashed another yellow at Brechin right-back Paul McLean for a trip on Templeton.

Smith denied the hosts a third before the break as he blocked Fraser Aird's shot after a clever exchange involving Faure and Nicky Law put the winger through.

There was a casualness about Rangers' play as they returned for the second half which former St Mirren midfielder Robb exploited when he burst through the middle before ripping a stunning strike past Cammy Bell into the top corner to halve the deficit.

A low Wallace drive almost restored the Light Blues' two-goal lead but Smith was once more well-placed to push the full-back's effort out for a corner.

But just as Rangers should have gone up another gear, Mohsni put them back in trouble on the hour mark when he collected a second yellow for stupidly kicking the ball away after conceding a free-kick.

Despite their numerical disadvantage Rangers poured forward but saw Smith again deny Wallace and then Daly.

But the home fans were growing restless as their side toiled against part-time opponents and they let their feelings be known when Templeton managed to blaze over an open goal after Law drove to the by-line to feed Daly, who back-heeled the ball into his strike partner's path.

The groans only grew louder when Brechin substitute Robert Thomson only just missed finding striker Andy Jackson as he swept a low ball across Bell's goalmouth.

But Rangers managed to see out the nervy final five minutes to claim another unconvincing win which maintains their league advantage.

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (6)

Rangers

  • 01 Bell
  • 02 Faure
  • 05 Wallace
  • 08 Black
  • 03 Mohsni Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 06 McCulloch Booked
  • 04 Aird (Peralta - 89' )
  • 11 Law
  • 09 Daly
  • 10 Shiels (Foster - 63' )
  • 07 Templeton (Little - 73' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Little
  • 14 Crawford
  • 15 Peralta
  • 16 Simonsen
  • 17 Foster
  • 18 Smith
  • 19 Murdoch

Brechin City

  • 01 Smith
  • 02 McLean Booked
  • 03 Brown
  • 10 Petrie Booked
  • 04 Hay
  • 05 McLauchlan
  • 07 Ferguson (Thomson - 74' )
  • 06 Robb (Carcary - 61' )
  • 09 Jackson
  • 08 Walker Booked (Molloy - 67' )
  • 11 Barr Booked

Substitutes

  • 12 Carcary
  • 14 Thomson
  • 15 Molloy
  • 16 Jackson
  • 17 Moyes
  • 21 Nelson
  • 72 Boag
Ref: Stevie O'Reilly
Att: 40,377

Match Stats

Shots

29 10

On target

12 4

Corners

6 4

Fouls

9 15

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Rangers 2, Brechin City 1.

90:00 +4:19 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Rangers 2, Brechin City 1.

90:00 +4:08

Attempt blocked. Andy Jackson (Brechin City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

90:00 +3:26 Booking

Booking Lee McCulloch (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +3:06

Foul by Lee McCulloch (Rangers).

90:00 +3:06

Bobby Barr (Brechin City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +0:18

Attempt blocked. Graham Hay (Brechin City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

89:50

Corner, Brechin City. Conceded by Lee Wallace.

89:22

Foul by Arnold Peralta (Rangers).

89:22

Bobby Barr (Brechin City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88:51 Booking

Booking Bobby Barr (Brechin City) is shown the yellow card.

88:38 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rangers. Arnold Peralta replaces Fraser Aird.

88:22

Lee McCulloch (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

88:22

Foul by Robert Thomson (Brechin City).

85:42

Attempt blocked. Darren Petrie (Brechin City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

85:09

Corner, Brechin City. Conceded by Sebastien Faure.

84:31

Corner, Brechin City. Conceded by Ian Black.

83:48

Attempt blocked. Derek Carcary (Brechin City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

79:58 Booking

Booking Darren Petrie (Brechin City) is shown the yellow card.

79:49

Fraser Aird (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

79:49

Foul by Darren Petrie (Brechin City).

79:08

Attempt saved. Andy Jackson (Brechin City) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

78:19

Sebastien Faure (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

78:19

Foul by Robert Thomson (Brechin City).

77:46

Attempt missed. Ian Black (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

75:45

Attempt saved. Bobby Barr (Brechin City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

74:54

Attempt missed. Nicky Law (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

73:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brechin City. Robert Thomson replaces Ryan Ferguson.

72:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rangers. Andrew Little replaces David Templeton.

72:38

Attempt missed. David Templeton (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

69:20

Attempt saved. David Templeton (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

66:44 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brechin City. Craig Molloy replaces Allan Walker.

66:05

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jonathan Brown.

65:44

Attempt saved. Lee Wallace (Rangers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

64:44

Attempt blocked. Richard Foster (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

63:55 Booking

Booking Allan Walker (Brechin City) is shown the yellow card.

63:47

Nicky Law (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

63:47

Foul by Allan Walker (Brechin City).

62:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rangers. Richard Foster replaces Dean Shiels.

60:42 Dismissal

Dismissal Second yellow card to Bilel Mohsni (Rangers).

60:22

Foul by Bilel Mohsni (Rangers).

60:22

Allan Walker (Brechin City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

60:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brechin City. Derek Carcary replaces Steven Robb.

59:14

Foul by Jonathan Daly (Rangers).

59:14

Graham Hay (Brechin City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:52

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Graeme Smith.

58:39

Attempt saved. Lee Wallace (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

57:59

Attempt missed. Jonathan Daly (Rangers) header from a difficult angle on the right is just a bit too high.

57:40

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jonathan Brown.

57:02

Corner, Brechin City. Conceded by Sebastien Faure.

56:01

Attempt blocked. Nicky Law (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

54:27

Attempt missed. David Templeton (Rangers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

53:48

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

53:48

Foul by Steven Robb (Brechin City).

53:15

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53:15

Foul by Steven Robb (Brechin City).

51:28 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 2, Brechin City 1. Steven Robb (Brechin City) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner.

50:48

Attempt missed. Fraser Aird (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

48:32

Attempt blocked. Fraser Aird (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

47:43

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Gerry McLauchlan.

46:51

Lee McCulloch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

46:51

Foul by Allan Walker (Brechin City).

45:00

Second Half begins Rangers 2, Brechin City 0.

45:00 +0:15 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Rangers 2, Brechin City 0.

41:36

Attempt saved. Fraser Aird (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

41:21

Attempt saved. Dean Shiels (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

38:53 Booking

Booking Paul McLean (Brechin City) is shown the yellow card.

38:44

David Templeton (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:44

Foul by Paul McLean (Brechin City).

37:35

Attempt missed. Jonathan Daly (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is too high.

36:13

Jonathan Daly (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:13

Foul by Gerry McLauchlan (Brechin City).

35:13

Attempt saved. Paul McLean (Brechin City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

34:54 Booking

Booking Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

34:32

Foul by Bilel Mohsni (Rangers).

34:32

Jonathan Brown (Brechin City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

33:33

Attempt saved. Dean Shiels (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal.

32:53

Lee McCulloch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

32:53

Foul by Steven Robb (Brechin City).

31:41

Attempt missed. David Templeton (Rangers) right footed shot from long range on the left is too high.

29:55

Attempt blocked. Ryan Ferguson (Brechin City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

27:38

Foul by Bilel Mohsni (Rangers).

27:38

Andy Jackson (Brechin City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

24:46 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 2, Brechin City 0. Jonathan Daly (Rangers) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lee Wallace with a cross.

24:02

Nicky Law (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:02

Foul by Jonathan Brown (Brechin City).

22:30

Attempt missed. Fraser Aird (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

20:26

Foul by Bilel Mohsni (Rangers).

20:26

Andy Jackson (Brechin City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:48

Attempt missed. Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

19:32

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Paul McLean.

19:18

Attempt saved. Nicky Law (Rangers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

18:19

Foul by Sebastien Faure (Rangers).

18:19

Steven Robb (Brechin City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

17:28

Attempt missed. David Templeton (Rangers) left footed shot from long range on the left is close, but misses to the right.

14:12

Attempt missed. Dean Shiels (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

13:09 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 1, Brechin City 0. Dean Shiels (Rangers) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner.

11:35

Attempt blocked. Steven Robb (Brechin City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

10:50

Attempt missed. Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is too high.

10:37

David Templeton (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:37

Foul by Paul McLean (Brechin City).

9:59

Attempt saved. Jonathan Daly (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

7:44

David Templeton (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

7:44

Foul by Paul McLean (Brechin City).

7:13

Foul by Andy Jackson (Brechin City).

7:13

Lee McCulloch (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

6:48

Attempt missed. David Templeton (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

6:25

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Graeme Smith.

6:09

Attempt saved. Dean Shiels (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

5:06

Foul by Bilel Mohsni (Rangers).

5:06

(Brechin City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

4:37

Foul by Paul McLean (Brechin City).

4:37

Lee Wallace (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

2:49

Attempt saved. David Templeton (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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