Stirling Albion produced a battling performance on our first league visit to Ibrox since March 1968 and the Third Division leaders had to wait until the final minute to be sure of extending their 100% home record.
We survived some intense early pressure and picked up five yellow cards in the first half but fell behind just before the hour mark when David Templeton swept home a cross from the lively Barrie McKay.
Substitute Josh Flood was denied a famous equaliser with 10 minutes left when he seized on a mistake from Kyle Hutton and saw his shot beat Neil Alexander, only for the ball to rebound from the post.
Graham Weir also forced a fine save from the Rangers No 1 in the dying seconds but by then we had lost Daly McSorley to a second booking and Ally McCoist’s side had gone 2-0 up when sub Andy Little fired home after Rangers broke quickly.
Overall, it was a performance to be proud of and must give Greig McDonald and his players encouragement ahead of Tuesday’s vital home game with an East Stirlingshire outfit five points above us in the table.
There were five changes to the team that lost 2-1 to Queen’s Park in our last fixture a fortnight ago. McDonald, Jamie McCunnie, Flood, Scott Davidson and Jordan White dropped out and were replaced by David McClune, Kieran McAnespie, Gary Thom, McSorley and Ross McGeachie, with Weir the sole striker.
Rangers, who were celebrating their 140th anniversary in front of a capacity crowd, poured forward from the start and Marc McCulloch was booked for a tackle on Templeton inside 20 seconds.
The Light Blues carved out several good chances – Lewis MacLeod missed a sitter and Kevin Kyle hit the post – but we grew into the game, only to fall behind when Templeton pounced from close range in 59 minutes.
Flood almost levelled but our hopes were all but ended when McSorley was dismissed for a second yellow card four minutes from time and Northern Ireland internationalist Little found space to seal the points.
Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou, Hegarty, MacLeod, Wallace, McCulloch, McKay, Hutton, Kyle (Naismith 68), Shiels (Little 77), Templeton (Walsh 88). Subs (not used): Cole, Gallacher (GK).
Scorers: Templeton 59, Little 90.
Stirling Albion: Peat, McClune, McAnespie, McCulloch (Davidson 82), Bishop, Thom (White 88), McGeachie (Flood 77), McSorley, G Weir, Ferry, Day. Subs (not used): Allison, Filler (GK).
Referee: Mike Tumilty