Two father-son duos huddled under the bleachers of MUSC Health Stadium on Wednesday night while rain poured down for two hours ahead of the Charleston Battery’s exhibition game with the Rangers F.C. on Daniel Island.
Harry Nicol and his 31-year-old son, Andrew, both from Raleigh, joked they were on their way to the bar to pass the time. Grant Freeman and his 5-year-old son Kyle, of Atlanta, were playing Star Wars games on an iPhone.
All four had traveled to support the Rangers F.C., the owners of a world-best 54 Scottish Premier League Championships. And though the rain delayed their plans for an hour and 20 minutes, all four got what they came to see: The Rangers beat the Battery, 2-1.
“My mom was born in Scotland, right outside of Glasgow. And so herself and her entire family were big Glasgow Rangers fans so we would watch the matches growing up back in the days of Ally McCoist and some of the old stars,” Grant said.
“I just thought it’s going to be cool to tell (my son) that he saw the same team his grandfather had watched, and his grandfather and his grandfather from our entire Scottish lineage.”
Indeed the young Kyle and the dozens of other Rangers fans walked away satisfied.
After nearly 60 minutes of rainy, scoreless play, Josh Windass laid the groundwork for an action-packed second half with a goal in the 58th minute for the Rangers.
From the right side, Michael O’Halloran crossed the ball, which Battery keeper Alex Tambakis got a foot on. That set Windass up in prime position on the left side, and seconds later he buried the ball in the back of the net for a 1-0 Rangers lead.
About 20 minutes later, the Rangers scored again in the 76th minute, when midfielder Harry Forrester freed himself from a defender and drilled a laser into the back left side of the net, putting the Rangers up 2-0.
“First half was really good,” said Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser.
“I think we showed a little bit of our youth when I put in a lot of young guys in the second half and they took advantage of it and caught us a little bit there.”
The Battery avoided getting shut out via a goal in the 81st minute when Ataullah Guerra scored, despite shooting from an angle nearly parallel with the goal in the corner.
“Ataullah scored a fantastic goal. You don’t see that too many places,” Anhaeuser said.
“He’s been playing well but he’s been just unlucky. He’s been missing assists, he’s just missed the target a few times ... and that was just a fantastic goal from a hard angle.”
Anhaeuser said he was pleased with the effort and the overall outcome, despite the rain and the loss.
The experience of playing against such a prestigious team, he said, should serve his team well in the future.
“I think the young guys came in and they saw and they really got their feet wet. It’s like jumping in with two feet,” he said.
“It’s good to see the young guys get in there and see what they can do because you’re gonna need them towards the end of the season. We’re gonna need everybody.”