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Tuesday, 07 August 2012 21:50

Rangers 4-0 East Fife

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THE fightback starts here. Defiant words from Rangers supporters as their team kicked off a new era at Ibrox with an uplifting 4-0 home win over East Fife.

On the face of it, the result was a first round shock of sorts in the Scottish Communities League Cup as the Third Division Light Blues beat the Second Division men from Methil.

In reality, it was an outcome most within the ground expected and one which only added to the rapidly developing good mood around the 140-year-old club.

Towards the end of a summer of hard knocks, this was a first real opportunity for Gers fans to come together as one with their team following the transfer from old company to new.

And after the opening competitive outing of the season ended in a 2-1 Ramsdens Cup win at Brechin last month, a more polished performance brought about an easy victory.

Many of the big names have gone and one or two more may follow but the squad Ally McCoist has at his disposal is getting stronger by the day and it is backed by a support which is as resilient as ever.

Banners held aloft in the Broomloan Stand such as that talking of fighting back reflected the feelings of those cheering on from the terraces.

So strong is the backing for the 54-times Scottish champions kick-off was delayed by 20 minutes to allow a wonderful crowd of 38,160 through the gates.

If that’s a sign of things to come, the comeback being promised is one which could gather momentum very quickly – and disappoint one or two outwith the Govan area along the way.

New signing Dean Shiels replaced Kyle Hutton in the starting line up as boss McCoist made just one change to the team which edged out City at Glebe Park.

And with added firepower on the bench in the form of strike pair Francisco Sandaza and Kevin Kyle, there was a clear desire to start on the front foot.

Away midfielder David Muir had a chance to give his side a shock lead and when he didn’t, a procession of one-way traffic duly began as the hosts delivered for their hoards.

Shiels saw his effort deflected over for a corner then provided a cross for Andy Little to head goalwards and draw an excellent fingertip save from keeper Michael Brown.

Carlos Bocanegra then headed past and Lee McCulloch did the same thing before he gave his team a deserved lead on the quarter-hour mark.

Shiels was the provider and a defensive slip allowed the talismanic forward to close in on Brown before slotting easily into the net from 10 yards.

Little set up his compatriot for a chance to make it 2-0 but he hammered wide before a scissor kick from Dorin Goian – yes, really – was palmed over the bar.

The Fifers looked startled as Rangers kept coming at them, though not as dazed as a red fox which made a fleeting appearance down the touchline before running out of the ground again.

It was long gone by the time Shiels did add a second, a cute dinked finish over Brown on his debut after Barrie McKay was blocked initially.

McCulloch was denied his second before the break after a fine flowing move down the left involving the impressive Lee Wallace and Shiels then Little missed too.

Wallace did add to the scoreline less than two minutes into the second period though as he drove home after Shiels’ shot was parried by Brown.

By then it was a case of how many and McCulloch eventually notched his brace with his third of the season after being slipped in by McKay to make it 4-0.

There was time for cameos from Sandaza, Kyle and Hutton as McCoist’s players sought to add to their tally.

They couldn't do it and had to settle for four in the end but as fightbacks go, this was an encouraging way to start this one.

RANGERS: Alexander; Broadfoot, Goian, Bocanegra; Little, Shiels, Black (Hutton 81), Macleod (Sandaza 67), Wallace; McKay (Kyle 81), McCulloch.

SCORERS: McCulloch 15, 62; Shiels 34; Wallace 47.

EAST FIFE: M Brown, Durie, Cook, Campbell, McCormack, Smith, Johnstone (R Brown 81), Muir, Wardlaw, McManus (Jamieson 61), McBride (Sloan 61).

REFEREE: John McKendrick.



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