A Brian Allison goal after just eight minutes earned Albion a famous win over Rangers at a sold-out Forthbank this afternoon.
It was only our second victory over the Ibrox club – the first was 2-0 at Annfield way back in September 1953 – and ended a run of five straight defeats in Division Three, lifting us off the bottom of the table and above East Stirling on goal difference.
Stirling skipper Allison grabbed the historic goal from close range via the crossbar after the Rangers defence had failed to clear a Daly McSorley corner and we withstood strong pressure from the visitors to claim our first shut-out of 2012/13.
There were two changes to the team that thrashed Dalbeattie Star 5-0 in the Scottish Cup last week. Player-manager Greig McDonald was getting married and Jamie McCunnie was also unavailable so Graham Weir and Gary Thom were recalled.
It was an outstanding team performance and Steven Weir missed a great chance late on to score a second goal after being set up by the impressive Jordan White, who is on loan from Falkirk, when he fired with just Neil Alexander to beat.
Full-backs Kieran McAnespie and David McClune both shrugged off first-half bookings that left them living on the edge and put in disciplined displays thereafter. Gary Thom and Allison coped admirably with Rangers’ aerial threat but everyone in red and white put in an incredible shift to claim a result few would have believed possible.
As expected, Ally McCoist’s men did most of the pressing and we survived a few scares – not least a first-half header from Lee McCulloch that hit the inside of the post.
Marc McCulloch cleared a header off the line in the second half and both keepers – Mark Peat replaced the injured Sam Filler at the interval – made some fine saves as Rangers fought desperately to avoid going down to their first league defeat.
In the closing minutes, substitute Kevin Kyle was thwarted by Peat and Dean Shiels fired wide from close range but Albion defended superbly throughout and we were rewarded with a day to remember for years to come.
The players and fans have plenty of time to enjoy the celebrations as our next match is not until October 20 when we welcome Montrose to Forthbank, before we end the first quarter of the campaign at Peterhead on October 27.
Stirling Albion: Filler (Peat 46), McClune, McAnespie, McCulloch, Thom, Allison, G Weir, McSorley (Day 59), White, S Weir (Flood 88), Ferry. Subs (not used): McGeachie, Brass.
Goal: Allison 8
Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou (McKay 66), Cribari, Perry, Wallace, McCulloch, Faure, Black (Naismith 85), Shiels, MacLeod, Aird (Kyle 71). Subs (not used): Crawford, Gallacher.
Referee: Bobby Madden