Glendale payed a first ever visit to Ibrox Stadium as they faced the might of Glasgow Rangers in a Premier Division match. Although Glendale’s rapid rise up through the Divisions in recent years had seen them record some outstanding results they had never faced either of the giant’s of Scottish Football and this match , which had all the makings of a classic did not disappoint with Glendale emerging at the end of a pulsating 90 minutes with all 3 points.
Glendale gave a first start to summer signing Chris Riddoch who took his place in a 5 man mid field along side the experienced John Cameron and as the teams took to the field Dale’s small but noisy travelling support greeted their hero’s by letting off a display of Maroon and sky blue balloons to set the scene.
Rangers kicked off and dominated possession from the start but Glendale refused to be bullied but were thankful for a last gasp challenge by Jonny Reith which denied the alert Jermaine Defoe from scoring. Within 5 minutes it was clear the duel between Michael Thomson and Alfredo Morelos was going to be explosive as both exchanged early fouls drawing an early warning for the pair from the match official but Ibrox was stunned into silence with 8 minutes on the clock as Dale took a shock lead. Riddock nipped the ball off Ryan Jack in mid field and found JAMES McMAHON with a forward pass who raced clear to round McGregor and score from a tight angle. Rangers continued to dominate and Alex Henderson raced off his line to deny Morelos then Ross Yule diverted a shot from Hagi over the bar but from a rare foray upfield Glendale forced a corner and from Steven Middleton’s delivery Yule bulleted a header goalwards which crashed down off the bar and MARK ROBB reacted quickest to stab the ball over the line. The home fans howled for a penalty as a cross from Tavinier struck the arm of Craig McRae but the Ref shook his head and play raged on. Incredibly with 33 minute’s on the clock and completely against the run of play Cameron releashed Cammy Willox on the right wing and his cross was turned in at the near post by JAMES McMAHON and the giant scoreboard high in the Govan Stand read
RANGERS 0 GLENDALE 3
But right on the half time whistle the game erupted when Thomson slid in on Morelos to knock the ball out for a corner and Morelos appeared to stamp down on Thomson. After lengthy treatment Thomson had to leave the field and 10 man Glendale failed to clear the corner and who else But ALFREDO MORELOS scrambled the ball over the line. As the players disappeared up the tunnel at the break manager Simon Darwin and Morelos appeared to clash and players from both sides joined in the melee with Dale assistant Michael Johnson seen pulling Darwin away from the trouble. H.T 1-3
The toxic atmosphere continued after the break and Jack and Cameron went into the book for a scuffle on the half way line as the game threatened to boil over. It was one way traffic with Rangers dominating play but Henderson dealt with everything in a confident manor but when Reith was seen to pull back Defoe as he broke through the Ref pointed to the spot and JAMES TAVINIER sent Henderson the wrong way to bring the Gers right back into the game. Dale were struggling and Russel MacPhee and Cameron Roe Imrie were brought on to replace Robb and Riddoch and with 10 minute’s left Craig McRae broke out of defence and carried the ball over the half way line and as the Rangers defence retreated McRae let fly from 25 yards the ball struck the base of the post and JAMES McMAHON followed up to volley home the rebound and complete a remarkable hat trick. Middleton was then booked for time wasting and Yule followed him into the book moments later and with 90 minute’s on the clock JERMAINE DEFOE scored after an error by Thomson to set up a nervy finish. 4 minutes of added time were played but Dale held on to record a famous victory.
After the match Manager Darwin said ” I’m so proud of the boys today, Everyone wrote us off at the start of the season but we proved today we can compete in this league and we’re here to stay”!