By Craig Rae
David McCallum was left hurting after a controversial red card cost the Rangers B team in today’s Old Firm clash with Celtic at Ibrox.
The Light Blues were well in control of the tie until the dismissal of Lewis Budinauckas late in the first half.
Rangers started the stronger of the sides and McCausland came close to taking the lead in the 11th minute as his shot went wide after a mazy run around the Celtic defence.
Arron Lyall broke the deadlock with a screamer in the 17th minute, running from deep and smashing the ball high into the net, something the first team’s midfield has been crying out for.
Rangers continued with the pressure and nearly doubled their lead as Lyall had an effort saved by the Celtic keeper.
David McCallum would have been pleased with the performance for most of the first period, with Bailey Rice controlling the game and Thompson Ishaka looking good on his official debut.
The game was to turn on its head before half time though, as Budinauckas was ordered off after being adjudged to have handled the ball outside the area and denying Celtic a clear goal scoring opportunity.
It looked harsh, given the fact that it seemed he was still well in his area, but the decision was made, much to the bemusement of the Rangers bench.
Ishaka was the one to be sacrificed as Follow Follow’s own Jacob Pazikas came on in goals.
The red card proved to be a massive turning point as Celtic took advantage and scored almost instantly when Quinn bundled the ball home after receiving the ball from the right-hand side.
The second half came, and Rangers were on the back foot instantly, losing the spark in midfield that Ishaka brought.
Celtic took the lead soon after when a good bit of play from the captain Anderson fed in Quinn to fire the ball across Pazikas, doubling his tally.
Rangers looked increasingly laboured without the dynamism of Ishaka and the game was put to bed when Davidson played a ball in from the right which was flicked in by Brooks, scooping the ball over Pazikas after it bounced off the bar.
Ten men turned into nine when Bailey Rice was ordered off for a second bookable offence after lunging at Anderson, killing off any hopes of a comeback.
To their credit, the Rangers side continued to dig deep and performed as professionally as they could to try and salvage some sense of pride from the game, not allowing Celtic to extend their lead and creating a couple of decent chances themselves, with Ure looking the brightest.
A bad day at the office got even worse when Adam Devine was sent off in the closing stages for a high challenge, leading to tempers fraying between both sides and a scuffle broke out resulting in a booking for Yfeko.
McCallum was adamant that the first red card had a big part to play in the result:
“If you’re going to make big decisions, you need to get them right, clearly the ball is on the line when he catches it, and the next step is taking it into the box. At that stage of the game, we were excellent and ahead in terms of controlling the game, that changes the game.”
“This is the flagship game of the Lowland League, you get bigger crowds than most of the games across the country, he (the referee) says that he was in a good position, well if you’re in a good position, you’ve got to make the right call, and that wasn’t the right call. It was a good spectacle to watch and that kills it.”
On a positive note, the manager praised Thompson Ishaka after he made his debut in the most difficult of circumstances.
“I think most folk would enjoy watching him, you can see him looking after the ball taking people on, he’s got a trick, he’s strong, we want him to be a bit more energetic but that will take time. There’s a lot to be excited about Thompson.”
The result means that Celtic leapfrogged their Glasgow Rivals into second place, with Rangers remaining four points off leaders Spartans, all but killing the side’s hopes of finishing the season top of the league.
Up next for the B team is a home tie against Stirling University next Saturday.