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Saturday, 18 November, 2000, 22:11 GMT
Ibrox title hopes blow a fuse
Tony Vidmar pulls down fellow full-back Chris McGroarty
Tony Vidmar pulls down fellow full-back Chris McGroarty
Dunfermline Athletic 0-0 Rangers

Rangers and Celtic will go into next weekend's Old Firm showdown with a 15-point gap separating the two Glasgow giants.

The runaway SPL leaders thrashed Hearts 6-1 while the champions were drawing this blank at East End Park.

The match at Dunfermline was delayed for 15 minutes by a power failure, and both sides squandered chances when it got underway.

Even the knowledge that Martin O'Neill's side had won again could not spark Rangers to a victory.

It could have been even worse if returning keeper Stefan Klos had not blocked late efforts from Youssef Rossi and Scott Thomson.

Delay

Rossi must have feared that his Dunfermline debut would be even shorter than his first start for the Moroccan under-21s when he was sent off after 25 minutes.

He appeared for club action in this game after recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.

But nearly did not get on the pitch at all when a fuse blew every time the main stand heaters were switched on.

Police eventually allowed the game to go ahead after a 15-minute delay and it was the home side who were first to spark into life.

Reunited striking duo Lee Bullen, back from injury, and Stevie Crawford caused the Rangers defence early problems.

At the other end, Kenny Miller and Michael Mols were having little joy with Dunfermline anxious not to repeat their 4-1 capitulation at Ibrox earlier in the season.

Rossi's determination boiled over when he was booked for a harsh tackle on Miller.

Youssef Rossi slides into Kenny Miller
Youssef Rossi slides into Kenny Miller
Rangers began to dominate possession and went close after 26 minutes.

Jorg Albertz fired a trademark free-kick from 25 yards but was denied by a superb save by marco Ruitenbeek.

The home side missed a chance to break the deadlock five minutes before the break when Chris McGroarty broke clear.

He was pulled down by Tony Vidmar, who was booked for the foul.

Second half

Seven minutes after the restart, Miller played a neat one-two with Mols before bursting into the six-yard box, only to tumble over the ball.

After 55 minutes, Barry Ferguson produced a rare shot on target from 25 yards but Ruitenbeek pushed the ball past the post.

Ronald de Boer should have grabbed the opener when he pounced on a long cross from Amoruso but fired straight at the goalkeeper.

Rossi came close to putting Dunfermline ahead with 15 minutes to go.

The Moroccan's free-kick sliced through the Rangers defence only to be blocked by Klos.

Great save

With just 10 minutes left Dunfermline had a great chance to take the three points.

Crawford released David Moss and the midfielder had only the goalkeeper to beat but sent the ball wide.

Ruitenbeek produced a great save to deny Albertz four minutes later when the German struck a powerful shot towards goal.

A couple of minutes later it was Klos who came to Rangers' rescue when he dived to block a Thomson shot.


Dunfermline: Ruitenbeek, Nicholson, Dair, Skinner, Skerla, Rossi, McGroarty, Moss, S. Thomson, Crawford, Bullen.

Subs: S. Thomson, Hampshire, May, Matthaei, Coyle.

Rangers: Klos, Vidmar, Amoruso, Wilson, Konterman, Numan, de Boer, Ferguson, Albertz, Miller, Mols.

Subs: Christensen, Dodds, Tugay, McCann, Ross.

Referee: D McDonald.

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