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banner Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 20:44 GMT
County push Rangers all the way
Tore Andre Flo opens the scoring at Victoria Park
Tore Andre Flo opens the scoring at Victoria Park
Ross County 2-3 Rangers

Rangers were made to work hard for their passage into the Scottish Cup quarter finals as battling Ross County put up a wonderful fight at Victoria Park.

Rangers appeared to be strolling to a comfortable win when 12m striker Tore Andre Flo struck twice in the opening stages, but County had other ideas.

Alex Bone pulled a goal back before half time and he grabbed a shock equaliser early in the second period.

Captain Barry Ferguson led by example and scored the vital fifth goal of the evening to give Rangers the win.

With four minutes gone Kenny Miller left Brian Irvine floundering with a clever spin and raced in on goal. The youngster found Flo with a clever cutback and the big Norwegian turned his marker neatly before calmly placing the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

First time shot

The First Division side countered when Bert Konterman misjudged a throw-in but Owen Coyle's first time shot was straight at goalkeeper Stefan Klos.

In the 16th minute Flo scored again with a remarkably similar strike to his opener after Neil McCann had supplied him with the ball.

Karim Boukkra and Fernando Ricksen battle for the ball
Karim Boukkra and Fernando Ricksen battle for the ball
County did not lose heart and struck back just three minutes later when top scorer Bone slipped away from Rangers defender Robert Malcolm to gather a headed flick-on before sending a low shot through the legs of Klos.

Flo was denied a first half hat-trick when veteran 'keeper Nicky Walker acrobatically pushed away a fierce 20-yard drive from the lanky former Chelsea star.

County started the second half in spritely fashion and in the 53rd minute the visiting fans were silenced by Bone's second goal of the game.

Irvine made a nuisance of himself in the Rangers penalty area - winning a header from a free kick, then battling for the loose ball on the ground - eventually digging it out from a pack of players into the path of Bone.

Simple task

The striker had a simple task of knocking the ball into an unguarded net.

Six minutes later, the impressive Karim Boukkra almost blasted the First Division side into an unlikely lead, but Klos was able to tip his 25-yard strike to safety.

Rangers managed to haul themselves back in front after 62 minutes when Reyna exposed the home side's flat defence by threading a great pass into the feet of Ferguson, who burst into the penalty area from midfield and stroked the ball past Walker.

Soon after, Walker had to look smart to smother a free kick from Tugay.

Hugh Robertson thought he had drawn County level ten minutes from time, but Klos somehow got a hand to the left back's blistering low drive.

Bravely block

From the resulting corner the German keeper had to bravely block a close range shot from Coyle.

Ferguson nearly grabbed a second goal in the 85th minute but Walker did well to save the Scotland star's shot.

County continued to chase the game and Scott Wilson made a crucial goal-line clearance in the closing minutes with Klos beaten by a looping Irvine header.

Kenny Miller should have made Rangers' win more comfortable but scooped the ball over the bar from just a few yards out.

Ross County: Walker, Perry, Maxwell, Irvine, Robertson, McCormick, Steven Ferguson, Boukkra, Henderson, Coyle, Bone.

Subs: Fraser, Hamilton, Holmes, Cunnington, Mackay.

Rangers: Klos, Wilson, Konterman, Malcolm, Reyna, Tugay, Ferguson, Ricksen, McCann, Miller, Flo.

Subs: Moore, Johnston, Carson, Christiansen, McHale.

Referee: M McCurry

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