RANGERS kept up their winning start in League One as Jon Daly’s double and goals from Lewis Macleod, Andy Little, Robbie Crawford and Nicky Law saw them thrash Airdrie 6-0.
The Light Blues were comprehensive winners as they opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table, albeit having played once more ahead of tomorrow’s other four games.
Manager Ally McCoist will be delighted by the manner of this victory, which added weight to the belief there’s a more ruthless element to Gers’ play this season.
Once again, they were just about clear of their opponents by the midway point as Macleod put them ahead and Little added to the lead.
They came into their own after the break though as Crawford, Daly’s welcome double and Law made sure of a third victory in succession.
In doing so, Gers recorded their second success on the road and having waited until late October to do that last year, this is a much better opening to the campaign.
They’re displaying great desire and hunger in these first weeks of 2013/14 and that’s an ominous sign for their rivals when several new signings have still to come into the squad.
McCoist made just one change to the side that triumphed 3-0 at Stranraer last week, replacing Dean Shiels in his starting line-up with Crawford.
The Light Blues had gone to Stair Park and delivered an emphatic start, scoring three times in less than half hour to kill the contest early.
This time it was Airdrie who pushed off on the front foot in front of a near-full New Broomfield and they had two good opportunities to go ahead in the first four minutes.
Nathan Blockley had a go first, steering wide of the target from Willie McLaren’s measured pass when he should have done better.
McLaren then had a go himself and although Scott Gallacher’s excellent fingertip save diverted his shot wide, referee Stephen Finnie gave a goal kick.
In a pulsating opening from the hosts, David Sinclair tried his luck as well with an acrobatic scissor kick but it never looked like it would trouble Gallacher.
The early exchanges were very much about absorbing pressure for Rangers and to their credit, they did that well as they continued to take on a solid look at the back.
They soon offered a response too, with one long-range Ian Black effort dragging wide and another requiring a smart stop from home keeper Colin Stewart.
The tide was beginning to turn a little and Gers made the most of their first clear-cut chance when it came to take a lead in the 18th minute.
Macleod was the scorer, steering a composed low drive across Stewart and into the far corner from just inside the area.
Scoring actually took the sting out of the game, with both sides settling into the match at a lower tempo.
The visitors began to look more comfortable as a result, with Andy Little taking time to cushion a volley which flew just past.
After a brief flurry from the hosts, Gers doubled their advantage through the Northern Ireland international nine minutes before the break.
Daly played a massive part, knocking down Black’s free kick superbly to Little, who spun round and rammed home an emphatic finish on the turn to make it 2-0.
Rangers had the scent in their nostrils and Crawford tried to get in on the act but didn’t catch his effort from 20 yards at all well and it ran wide.
Little was more unlucky at the end of a good move which started with another Black set-piece on the halfway line and Stewart touched the striker’s attempt away.
Law also saw his header deflected wide as the Ibrox outfit tried to go into the break with another three-goal lead and only just missed out.
In fact, it was three minutes after the restart that the third came and this time it was Crawford who got on the score sheet.
The ever-improving Sebastien Faure played a terrific ball down the left that Wallace gave chase to, got on the end of and squared into the six-yard box.
His pass was cut out at first but only cleared as far as Crawford, who took a
Airdrie looked down and out and with their tails up, it was quickly becoming a case of how many for Rangers.
Law curled over the bar and Daly, still seeking his first competitive goal, did everything right but agonisingly put the ball past from Little’s excellent deep cross.
Moments later the former Dundee United hit the target but this time Stewart was in the right place to hold.
He wasn’t to be denied though and when he finally broke his competitive duck for the club it was the most popular goal of the night.
Macleod swung across goal to Law at the far post and he got on the end of it to cut back to Crawford.
His shot then took a major deflection and as it spun up in the air and Daly took position, there was no doubt he would head in from close range.
If that was the most popular goal, the next one from Law was arguably the best of the evening in terms of quality.
Daly’s touch out to Little on the left wing was pinpoint, the first-time cross that followed was every bit as good but Law’s outside-of-the-boot dink oozed class.
Soon it was three goals in as many minutes and having waited so long to get off the mark for Rangers, Daly quickly grabbed his second of the game.
This time it was a more gritty effort as he dug the ball out from under his feet, took the ball wide then rolled past Stewart from a tight angle to make it 6-0.
There was little respite for Airdrie as McCoist brought on David Templeton and Dean Shiels and they were eager to make an impression too.
In the end they didn’t, although Templeton did put the ball in the net only to have his goal disallowed because referee Stephen Finnie had already blown for a foul on Law.
No matter. This was a rampant win and confidence is clearly growing quickly down Ibrox way.
RANGERS: Gallacher; McAusland, McCulloch, Faure, Wallace; Black (Shiels 75); Crawford, Law, Macleod (Templeton 75); Little (Aird 77), Daly.
SUBS NOT USED: A Smith, Gasparotto, Murdoch, Telfer.
SCORERS: Macleod 18, Little 37, Crawford 48, Daly 67, 70, Law 69.
AIRDRIE: Stewart; O’Neil, Buchanan, McCormack, Boyle; Bain (Hay 59), Blockley, Sinclair, McLaren (Hardie 53); Coult, Lister (Coogans 72).
SUBS NOT USED: Duncan, O’Byrne, Evans.
BOOKINGS: Blockley, McCormack, O’Neil.
REFEREE: Stephen Finnie.
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