Glasgow (AFP) – Managerless Rangers slumped to their second consecutive defeat as a last-minute Billy McKay strike helped Inverness Caledonian Thistle to a 2-1 win in the Scottish Premiership at the Caledonian Stadium on Friday.
Greg Tansey fired Inverness into a first-half lead before Martyn Waghorn’s second-half penalty levelled matters.
Inverness thought their chance had gone when Iain Vigurs had a late penalty saved but McKay’s overhead kick handed them their first league win since October that lifts them off the bottom of the table.
The defeat means third-placed Rangers have won just one of their past seven league matches and Aberdeen can extend their lead over them to nine points if they can beat Ross County on Saturday.
“The players are very down as you can imagine as they did the things we wanted them to do,” Rangers caretaker manager Graeme Murty said.
“We created lots of chances and opened them up but we need to be clinical in both boxes and we weren’t and we’ve been punished for it.”
Meanwhile, Inverness manager Richie Foran was delighted with the character his side showed.
“I thought our chance was gone when we missed that penalty and it was going to be one of those games,” Irishman Foran said.
“But that’s why we’ve got Billy McKay in our team and it was a fantastic finish.”
After being slow out of the traps in last Sunday’s defeat to Dundee, Rangers made a strong start with Kenny Miller forcing a good save out of Owain Fon Williams before the ‘keeper recovered to block the follow-up from Emerson Hyndman.
Rangers’ pressure should have paid off on the half-hour mark when captain Lee Wallace, on his return from injury, floated an excellent cross into the box but Barrie McKay, with time and space to pick his spot, headed well off-target.
The half looked to be ending goalless before Inverness took the lead with seconds remaining. Liam Polworth’s initial strike was blocked but the rebound fell to Tansey who sent a controlled curling shot past Wes Foderingham from 25 yards.
Rangers made a determined start to the second half with Fon Williams making a superb fingertip save to tip over a rising shot from Barrie McKay.
American international Hyndman then played a superb through ball to on-loan Arsenal midfielder Jon Toral but the Spaniard fired narrowly wide with only the ‘keeper to beat.
However, Rangers deservedly levelled in the 67th minute when Wallace earned his side a penalty after Louis Laing caught the Gers captain with a late challenge.
Waghorn took the spot-kick and sent Fon Williams the wrong way as he lashed the ball into the net.
The home side were presented with a late chance to win it when Danny Wilson conceded a penalty for a late lunge on Billy McKay but substitute Vigurs, only on the pitch for three minutes, saw his low penalty saved by Foderingham.
With time running out McKay showed superb skill to hold off Rob Kiernan before sending a wonderful overhead kick looping over Foderingham to clinch Inverness’ first win over Rangers since 2006.