Rangers were held to a third Scottish Premiership draw of the season as Ross County claimed a point at Ibrox.
The hosts – without Joey Barton, who was sent home earlier in the week after an internal row – came close with Josh Windass’ effort cleared off the line.
Clint Hill was also denied by a goal-line intervention and substitute Michael O’Halloran headed off the bar.
County threatened through Jonathan Franks and Alex Schalk, goalkeeper Wes Foderingham saving from both.
The home crowd seemed in little doubt, reserving their loudest cheer for Andy Halliday’s name when the starting line-up was read out.
It was Halliday who Barton argued with in training, before also having words with manager Mark Warburton, and the Rangers support sang Halliday’s name after the game started.
- Warburton stays silent on Barton row
Rangers tried to recapture the dynamism of last season’s form in winning the Championship, with Halliday joined in midfield by Jason Holt and Windass, two players capable of pressing and working at a high tempo. The pace improved the home side’s play, although there was still a lack of cohesion in the final third.
Windass had an effort disallowed for offside after three minutes and then saw another shot cleared off the line by Paul Quinn, the midfielder having rounded County goalkeeper Scott Fox.
County cling on
The visitors were organised and assertive in the way they defended on their first visit to Ibrox. Rangers enjoyed greater possession, which delivered more attempts on goal, and there were moments when County would have felt relieved.
Kenny van der Wegg and Michael Gardyne combined to tackle Barrie McKay inside the penalty area, which resulted in claims for a spot-kick but referee Greg Aitken waved them away.
Fox saved well from Martyn Waghorn, while Martin Woods cleared a Hill header off the line and O’Halloran nodded against the goal frame.
At the other end, Franks’ effort from inside the area was pushed away by Foderingham.
Air of discontent
Grumbles were evident as Rangers’ performance lacked the cutting edge to deliver all three points. Lee Wallace suffered a moment of alarm, too, when his mistake let Schalk in, but Foderingham saved well.
Rangers – who lost 5-1 away to Celtic last week – are now three points behind the leaders, who have two games in hand, and face a trip to Aberdeen next weekend.
The home fans booed the players off at the end, disgruntled by the scoreline, and there are still problems for Warburton to solve.
Rangers boss Mark Warburton: “I’m never happy about dropping two points at home but I’m very pleased with the performance. That’s our best 90-minute performance of the season.
“I’m sure you’ll agree we created more than enough chances to win two or three games. We just hit every part of the goalkeeper’s body.
“It was one of those days but we’ve got to be much happier with the quality of performance. Nine times out of 10 that will be enough to win games.”
Ross County’s Jim McIntyre: “At times it was desperate for us, we had to hang in and graft and then you get that slice of luck that you need when you come to the big clubs.
“It’s bad enough coming off the back of an Old Firm defeat but with what has gone on during the week [Joey Barton’s temporary ban] it would have given them motivation to go and get the result, a comfortable victory.”
Match ends, Rangers 0, Ross County 0.
Second Half ends, Rangers 0, Ross County 0.
Foul by Lee Wallace (Rangers).
Paul Quinn (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is saved in the bottom left corner.
Andrew Davies (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Michael O’Halloran (Rangers).
Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Paul Quinn.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Martin Woods.
Andy Halliday (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Greg Morrison (Ross County).
Substitution, Ross County. Greg Morrison replaces Craig Curran.
Danny Wilson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Curran (Ross County).
Attempt missed. Tony Dingwall (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.
Michael O’Halloran (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Michael Gardyne (Ross County).
Attempt blocked. Clint Hill (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Substitution, Ross County. Tony Dingwall replaces Alex Schalk because of an injury.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Tim Chow.
Substitution, Rangers. Niko Kranjcar replaces Jason Holt.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Andrew Davies.
Attempt saved. Craig Curran (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Barrie McKay (Rangers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Ross County. Tim Chow replaces Jonathan Franks.
Attempt missed. Clint Hill (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.
Michael O’Halloran (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kenny van der Weg (Ross County).
Josh Windass (Rangers) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box.
Substitution, Rangers. Michael O’Halloran replaces Martyn Waghorn.
Substitution, Rangers. Kenny Miller replaces Joe Garner.
Attempt missed. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Michael Gardyne.
Martin Woods (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).
Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).
Harry Forrester (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Christopher Routis (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37325747