Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Rangers (1) v Dumbarton (0)

Tuesday 5th April 2016, Kick Off 7.45pm

Ladbrokes Championship

THEY were expected to leave Govan bruised and battered.

But instead, Dumbarton were brave, bold and battle-hardened.

They just couldn't be the bad guys of Rangers' title party.

Outside G82, G83 and G84, Sons' chances weren't fancied. They were heading to Ibrox right in the crossfire of the team who were about to win this season's Championship.

In the end a James Tavernier goal, five minutes into the second half, was all that stood between them and a result which would have kept the Gers waiting to clinch the glory.

The Ibrox right back turned to fire home from six yards to ensure that the vast majority of a record crowd to watch Sons would leave the stadium in celebration.

While it is true to say that keeper Jamie Ewings and his defence had the inspired night they needed against a strong Rangers attack, the visitors were not disgraced.

And, as it turned out, not too much damage was done, as Hibernian fought back to beat Livingston 2-1 and keep Sons two points clear in eighth place.

That, though, is now the unenviable challenge out the way. Dumbarton now face three consecutive home games where the goals need to come.

They nearly did get them in the game's early stages. In terms of creating chances, they arguably had the better of the first 20 minutes.

Gregor Buchanan's header from Jamie Lindsay's central free kick was on target but easily saved. Lindsay looked to assist again shortly after, but his low ball into the area found Danny Wilson just before it could find Christian Nade.

That got Rangers going, with Ewings doing well to deny Harry Forrester before Kenny Miller sent a fierce effort just over.

Tavernier also narrowly missed the target, courtesy of a deflection off Lindsay, before he and Andy Halliday were denied in smart fashion by Ewings.

The Sons keeper was still on form in the early stages of the second half, facing a predictable onslaught from the home side.

He kept out Billy King twice, the second of those a goal-line effort which required Mark Docherty's help, before Forrester again was denied.

But Tavernier wasn't when a low ball came in from the right. He slid the ball home and if Sons were to get a result, they now had to step things up.

And after Tavernier had gone close again, there was just one moment when it looked as though it might happen.

Nade went for it from distance, but the home keeper was equal to it.

Rangers sub Michael O'Halloran was next to try to beat Ewings, but even with two efforts, he still couldn't get the better of Sons' number 19.

His fellow replacement Nicky Clark looked set to test him in injury time before Buchanan made a magnificent challenge to put the ball out for a corner.

At least it would have been a corner if there was any more time. There wasn't.

Rangers were champions, Dumbarton beaten but unbowed.

Rangers: Foderingham; Tavernier, Kiernan, Wallace, Miller (Clark 85), Forrester (Shiels 77), Halliday, King, McKay (O'Halloran 61), Holt, Wilson. Subs: Bell; Ball, Law, Zelalem.

Dumbarton: Ewings; Taggart, Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Fleming (McCallum 82), Waters (Cawley 66), Routledge, Lindsay (Gallagher 59), Wright, Nade. Subs: Brown; Heffernan, Heh. Booked: Routledge, Saunders, Nade.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Crowd: 48,568 (a Dumbarton club record).

Andy Galloway