Last minute winner is cruel on Fifers

East Fife found out on Saturday just how cruel football can be at times as they went down to a last minute penalty at the hands of Rangers.

All the record books will show is that the Gers, like they have already so many times this season, left their opposition’s home patch with a clean sheet and all three points.

Liam Buchanan is guarded by Lee McCulloch.

Liam Buchanan is guarded by Lee McCulloch.

But that doesn’t go close to telling half the story as the over 4000 supporters inside Bayview plus the countless others on live TV will agree.

Rangers arrived in Methil as part of their cruise towards the Scottish League One championship, while the Fifers remain desperate for points to ease them away from trouble at the other end of the table.

The Fifers had spoken during the week of taking heart from their previous encounter with the Gers when Gary Naysmith’s side were far from disgraced in a 2-0 defeat at Ibrox.

And it appeared they had done just exactly that as the fearless Fifers, playing with Liam Buchanan and Kevin Smith as a front two, tried to get in behind their visitors.

Buchanan almost managed this a couple of times but found Bilel Moshni and his partners in defence equal to the attacks.

The first chance of the game for Rangers fell the way of Dean Shiels but his effort flew across the face of goal.

Despite having conceded 11 goals in three games to Rangers this season, the Fifers never looked likely of going down to previous scorelines of five and four nil.

John Daly had bagged a hat-trick when the sides met at Bayview in October but that feat never looked likely to be repeated as the Irishman got absolutely no change from the outstanding Joe Mbu and Kevin Rutkiewicz.

In fairness the Fifers didn’t cause too much trouble themselves for the Rangers backline despite the effort of Buchanan and Smith.

It was at the other end of the park that the Fifers really impressed.

Despite being known down the past few seasons for their generosity to opposing strikers, this East Fife defence was in particularly mean mood.

Rangers were restricted to half chances from distance by David Templeton and when they did manage to get a sight of goal they found no way past Greg Paterson.

With the visiting fans beginning to stream out the ground, Rangers stabbed East Fife in the heart.

Desperate to see off a Rangers attack, Pat Clarke was guilty of tripping up Templeton inside the box.

Lee McCulloch stepped up and sent Paterson the wrong way. It was a cruel ending to a game East Fife put so much into.