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2016/17 Scottish Premier League, 2016/2017 Scottish Premier League
  • Martin Waghorn (62')
  • Alistair Crawford (30')

Rangers 1-1 Hamilton Academical

Rangers were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Hamilton at Ibrox on their return to the Ladbrokes Premiership.
The home faithful had waited four years to see their team reclaim their place in the top flight following their 2012 meltdown.
But Mark Warburton's team had to settle for an opening-day point, with Martyn Waghorn levelling on 62 minutes after Ali Crawford had put Accies ahead in the 30th minute.
The landmark occasion started with Ibrox chairman Dave King unfurling last year's Championship flag, to the delight of the packed-out 49,215 crowd.
But it ended with concern etched across many faces when Waghorn - who topped Rangers' scoring charts last term - limped off with a hamstring injury.
Warburton brought in nine new faces over the summer but, apart from Clint Hill, Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar, the Englishman started with largely the same team which earned promotion.
Former Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati received the customary hostile welcome as he made his Accies league debut in Govan.
A banner reading 'Rangers FC. Back By Unpopular Demand' was unveiled at the front of the Broomloan Road stand as the teams emerged from the tunnel, and the visitors did their best to spoil the party atmosphere with a competitive first-half display.
On-loan Norwich goalkeeper Remi Matthews was making a good first impression for Hamilton on his Premiership bow, pushing away Andy Halliday's early strike before denying Waghorn.
Two unsuccessful penalty appeals - the first a handball claim against Georgios Sarris, the next involving a clash between Accies skipper Michael Devlin and Waghorn at a corner - did little to brighten the Light Blues' spirits.
And the mood went completely flat when Crawford fired his side ahead after half an hour.
Anton Kurakins slung a low ball to the back post but Kranjcar's decision to dive in on the Accies forward proved costly as he cut back onto his left foot before sweeping a delightful finish into the top corner.
Gers did their best to respond to that setback, but there was more disappointment just before the break when Waghorn steered a free-kick against the outside of the far post.
Rangers turned up the heat, though, at the start of the second half, with Waghorn and Barton both coming close.
But Martin Canning's visitors were not making life easy. Dougie Imrie had Rangers goalkeeper Wes Foderingham scrambling with a low drive which crept wide, while Barton saved his side further damage when he got himself in front of Greg Docherty's strike.
However, Warburton's decision to hook the ineffective Kranjcar and replace him with Harry Forrester on the hour mark paid off almost immediately.
Barton won the ball in midfield before finding the former Doncaster playmaker, whose ball over the top was perfect for Waghorn to run onto and slot under Matthews.
Foderingham had to dive at full length to keep out a Donati header but Forrester continued to cause problems, firing just wide after driving in from the right.
It seemed like the hosts were preparing for a big push as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes but, when Waghorn went down clutching his hamstring and with all three substitutions made, the spark faded and Hamilton held on for the point.
ends

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