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Inverness throw spanner in Rangers' works

Published: Thursday 5 March 2009, 9.40CET
The combative Terry Butcher returned to haunt his old side on Wednesday as Rangers FC were knocked off the Scottish Premier League summit with a 1-0 loss at home to a resurgent Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC team.
Inverness throw spanner in Rangers' works
Terry Butcher has resurrected Inverness's fortunes ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 5 March 2009, 9.40CET

Inverness throw spanner in Rangers' works

The combative Terry Butcher returned to haunt his old side on Wednesday as Rangers FC were knocked off the Scottish Premier League summit with a 1-0 loss at home to a resurgent Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC team.

Terry Butcher returned to haunt his old side on Wednesday as Rangers FC were knocked off the Scottish Premier League summit with a 1-0 home loss to a resurgent Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC team.

Improbable outcome
Rangers striker Kenny Miller had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half, but Rangers could have had few complaints as they headed into injury time with the scores at 0-0, with Caley having also held Celtic FC to a goalless draw in Inverness on 1 February. However, that was when disaster struck for last season's UEFA Cup finalists, with David Weir conceding a penalty – and earning a red card – for a foul on David Proctor. Ian Black converted from the spot to earn the Highlands side an improbable three points.

'Huffed and puffed'
Butcher, a former England defender who captained Rangers to three Scottish titles in four years at the club between 1986 and 1990, had expected little of his return to Ibrox, saying: "If you'd said before the game we'd take three points and be off the foot off the table, I'd have said you'd had too much gin. It means a hell of a lot to our club. It will lift everybody." Yet according to Walter Smith – who was Rangers' assistant manager under Graeme Souness during Butcher's time in Glasgow – it was little more than they deserved. "Give Inverness a bit of credit," said the Rangers boss. "They defended very well and we huffed and puffed for the whole evening."

Contrasting fortunes
Rangers' defeat, coupled with Celtic's 2-1 win at Kilmarnock FC, saw the Old Firm clubs swap places at the summit and Gordon Strachan's men are now three points ahead of their rivals. Inverness, meanwhile, moved off the foot of the table for the first time since early January, and confidence is growing that with Butcher in charge the side can avoid relegation.

Positive signs
The 50-year-old took over on 27 January following the departure of Craig Brewster, combining the job with his role as assistant to Scotland manager George Burley. At the time, the club – formed with the merger of Inverness Thistle FC and Caledonian FC in 1994, and Premier League regulars since the 2004/05 season – had lost their last eight top-flight games. They have taken eight points from five matches since and all of a sudden there is hope. "From a confidence point of view, it's a massive, massive result for us and a massive performance because we're becoming a hard team to beat," said Butcher.

Last updated: 05/03/09 13.11CET

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