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Saturday, 17 August 2013 16:49

Stranraer 0-3 Rangers

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RANGERS made it two League wins out of two in SPFL League One after an excellent 3-0 victory over a hard working Stranraer side at Stair Park.

After a confidence boosting 4-1 win over Brechin City on August 10 the Light Blues were again impressive this afternoon, particularly in a one-sided first half in which all three goals were scored.

Andy Little was awarded the opener after just five minutes before Lee McCulloch and Lewis Macleod opened their accounts for the new campaign.

And although no more goals were scored in the second period Ally McCoist will no doubt be happy to have watched his side pick up three points on their travels after they struggled to do so at the start of the 2012/13 campaign in SFL3.

The manager made three changes to his line-up with Kyle McAusland and McCulloch replacing the injured Chris Hegarty and Emilson Cribari while Dean Shiels came in for Robbie Crawford who dropped to the bench.

With the club’s transfer embargo still in place until September 1 McCoist again picked Nicky Law and Jon Daly from his eight summer signings to start the game and what a start it was!

Rangers almost had the ball in the net in the 4th minute when Lee Wallace’s back post cross went through to Daly but the big striker’s shot across goal hit the far post before being cleared.

Just 60 seconds later though and the visitors were in front and it was Andy Little that claimed the goal.

Ian Black's shot from 25 yards looked to be going in but the ball cannoned off Little on its way through, which wrong-footed the Stranraer keeper, and the striker celebrated his first goal of the new season.

After taking an early blow Stranraer managed to regroup with their number 11 Mark Corcoran’s pace proving a useful asset for Stephen Aitken’s men early on.

But it wasn’t long before the Light Blues had doubled their advantage after another good passage of play.

Little received the ball down the right channel from McCulloch and when his cross narrowly missed Daly’s head it was Macleod that was there no score from close range.

Rangers were looking good in their new away kit and on the park they were now turning on the style with McCulloch making it 3-0 before the half hour mark.

Law’s corner kick was perfect for the Gers skipper who powered a great header from inside the 18-yard box into the net.

Only minutes later it could have got worse for the home side when Macleod found Law making a lung bursting run as Rangers produced a swift counter attack.

The midfielder looked up and tried to find the unmarked Shiels but Stranraer defender Scott Robertson did brilliantly to produce a crucial challenge.

While Rangers were showing their strengths going forward Scott Gallacher was also impressive between the posts and on 35 minutes he produced a stunning stop, tipping Chris Aitken’s dipping free-kick over the bar. 

A last ditch block from McCulloch from a Corcoran shot then ensured the scoreline stayed at 3-0 at the break.

Into the second half and the action continued at a relentless pace initially. With just a minute played Daly got in behind Stranraer’s defence but Mitchell dived to his left to make a fine save.

At the other end a free kick from Aitken found David MacGregor in the box but the right back's header from 12 yards was straight at Gallacher when he really should have done a lot better.

Rangers again came close to netting a fourth goal when a clever header from Daly landed at the Shiels’ feet but after turning brilliantly in the box the Ulsterman blazed his left-foot effort over the bar and into the away end of the ground.

On 58 minutes McCoist made his first substitution with David Templeton replacing Shiels who had put in an excellent shift.

With both teams making changes to their personnel the game took a dip in quality and while the play got scrappy a poor challenge by Stranraer midfielder Aitken meant he was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.

With the home side sitting deeper and deeper Rangers couldn’t find the quality in the last third to add to their three goals with McCulloch firing a free-kick over the bar with four minutes remaining.

While the second half performance could have been better from the visitors the damage had already been done before the interval and Rangers fully deserved to claim all three points.

RANGERS (4-4-1-1): Gallacher; McAusland, Faure, McCulloch, Wallace; Little, Black (Crawford 78), Law, Macleod; Shiels (Templeton 58); Daly

SUBS NOT USED: Smith, Aird, Murdoch, Gasparotto, McKay

BOOKED: None

GOALS: Little 5, Macleod 22, McCulloch 30

STRANRAER (4-4-2): Mitchell; MacGregor, Robertson, McKeown, Docherty; Winter (Borris 60), Aitken, Gallagher, Corcoran (Stirling 71); Longworth, Grehan (McKenna 78)

SUBS:  Kinnaird, Forde, Wood, Fahey

BOOKED: Docherty, Robertson, Aitken

SENT OFF: Aitken

REF: Craig Charleston

ATTD: 3,473

Copyright 2014. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.rangers.co.uk

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