Stirling Albion manager Darren Young couldn’t hide his pride despite the Scottish Cup fourth round defeat at Ibrox on Friday night.
The Binos held out for half an hour before losing 4-0 to Rangers, whose goals came from debutant Alex Lowry, a penalty from James Tavernier, Cedric Itten and Fashion Sakala.
The crowd of 37,916 included around 800 Albion supporters for what was only the clubs’ second meeting in the Scottish Cup, with Rangers winning the first 1–0 in 1978.
Stirling had drawn 0-0 on his last visit to Ibrox in March 2013 and famously claimed a 1-0 victory at Forthbank in October 2012, but those games were in the Third Division.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are top of the Premiership and are unbeaten since the Dutchman replaced Steven Gerrard in November.
Young said: “I am delighted with the attitude of the players and the performance they gave us. The fitness levels were excellent and the form of the team was really good. Losing was a bad first goal, but we stuck to our guns and the most important thing for me was the level they played at; we need to incorporate that into our league games when obviously we won’t get caught up in that way.
“They have set a standard and communication and organization were good. We had a couple of half chances in the first half and two or three towards the end – the great Dylan Mackin did well when he came in and it was a great shot to force a save. We never retire and it’s a great experience for the players to play here and against that quality.
“I thought the first penalty was very soft because the ball just bounced off and hit an arm, but the second was a block and it was a great save from Blair. We hope that the fans and everyone related to the club enjoyed the night. The fans were great from the start and you have to enjoy these occasions because they don’t come very often”.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Blair Currie was a real standout at Ibrox with a first-half penalty save from James Tavernier the highlight.
The Rangers captain had already converted a shot from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 for the hosts when Currie dove to his right to deny his second attempt shortly before halftime.
It was a special moment for the 27-year-old, who played in the Rangers youth academy before moving on to Hamilton Accies and Annan Athletic. He joined the Clyde Binos in the summer of 2019 and is firmly established as first choice at Forthbank.
He told Stirling Albion TV: “I think I was always going to be the busiest man in Ibrox, but that’s what the goalkeeper is for and luckily I made a few saves.
“I got a finger on the first penalty and I thought he would do the same on the second because he had scored and luckily I was able to make the save so I’m proud of that.
“Seeing 800 Stirling fans there gave the team a huge boost – we got to hear them throughout the game and they got to see the effort the players put in. Some of the guys were working in the morning, I think they did the club proud. ”
The Binos will once again secure League Two business on Saturday when they travel to Galabank to take on Annan Athletic, who secured a dramatic 4-3 win at Clydebank in the Scottish Cup on Saturday and will now host Rangers in the round of 16. end.
Young added: “Annan will be a tough game because they’ve done well, but if we show the same attitude and the same desire that we showed against Rangers, hopefully we can get back on the road with three points.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.