Match ends, Rangers 2, Alloa Athletic 2.
Alloa Athletic were rewarded for a spirited performance with a deserved draw against Rangers at Ibrox.
Having taken the lead through Ben Gordon, the visitors found themselves trailing when Nicky Clark scored twice.
Familiar flaws haunted Rangers, though, and they allowed Liam Buchanan in to equalise with just eight minutes left.
The watching Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs would have been enthused by the result, since it leaves his side six points clear in second place.
And Hibs, who have played a game more than Rangers, host the Ibrox side on Sunday.
Recently-appointed manager Stuart McCall calculated that a radical approach might revive the fortunes of this Rangers team, making five changes to the starting line-up and starting with teenagers Andy Murdoch and Tom Walsh.
The attempt was to shake off the sense of gloom that has enveloped the team in recent weeks. With only one win in their previous eight matches, Rangers had become a side in decline.
There were, sporadically, causes for optimism, not least the bright moments of skill and adventure from Walsh, but otherwise much of the home side's play was familiarly bereft.
Alloa were set up to limit Rangers, although they were constantly troubled by the dynamic play down the home side's left flank.
Lee Wallace and Walsh combined well, with the former's cross creating an early chance for Clark that he sent over the bar.
Walsh then cut infield and curled an effort just over. A later exchange between the two left-sided players ended with Wallace crossing and Jason Marr slicing a clearance over his own bar.
After the interval, Mark Docherty slung over a straightforward cross that the home defence could not deal with and Gordon rose to head past Cammy Bell.
Alloa were buoyed, and for a spell took the game to the home side.
McCall's response was to replace defender Marius Zaliukas with winger David Templeton and switch to a 3-4-3 formation.
Silence had enveloped Ibrox, so that even when Nicky Law carefully met a ball over his shoulder with a volley that McDowall pushed away, the crowd were not fully roused.
However, a period of attacking play led to Lee McCulloch rattling the ball off the crossbar and Clark was first to react, darting to meet the rebound and head it into the empty net.
Now Rangers were enlivened and Clark took full advantage by scoring again, sprinting to the near post to meet a cross and flick a header into the net.
A composed, self-assured side would have seen the victory out, but Rangers remain fragile at the back.
Alloa had continued to believe that something could be taken from the game, and they were rewarded by Buchanan's poacher's instincts.
He was able to spin into the inside left channel, reach a hopeful ball ahead of Wallace and clip a shot over the on-rushing Bell.
- 24McGregorBooked at 37mins
- 26ZaliukasSubstituted forTempletonat 63'minutes
- 15BoydSubstituted forDalyat 69'minutes
- 17DoyleBooked at 42mins
- 2TiffoneySubstituted forFlanniganat 61'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 3DochertySubstituted forBenedictusat 84'minutes
- 19BuchananBooked at 75minsSubstituted forChopraat 90+4'minutes
- Craig Charleston
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Rangers 2, Alloa Athletic 2.
Iain Flannigan (Alloa Athletic) is shown the yellow card.
David Templeton (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Iain Flannigan (Alloa Athletic).
Substitution, Alloa Athletic. Michael Chopra replaces Liam Buchanan.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ben Gordon.
Attempt saved. Nicky Clark (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Lee Wallace (Rangers).
Iain Flannigan (Alloa Athletic) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Tom Walsh (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Jon Daly (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ben Gordon (Alloa Athletic).
Attempt missed. Jon Daly (Rangers) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Attempt missed. Jon Daly (Rangers) header from the left side of the six yard box is just a bit too high.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ben Gordon.
Foul by Jon Daly (Rangers).
Ben Gordon (Alloa Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Alloa Athletic. Kyle Benedictus replaces Mark Docherty.
Goal! Rangers 2, Alloa Athletic 2. Liam Buchanan (Alloa Athletic) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mark Docherty.