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Sunday, 06 October 2013 14:36

Ayr United 0-2 Rangers

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SECOND HALF goals from Bilel Mohsni and Lewis Macleod gave Rangers an impressive victory over Ayr United at Somerset Park and maintained the club’s 100 per cent record in League One so far in 2013/14.

After a first-half battle which ended goalless the Light Blues dominated the second period and before the hour mark they were in total control.

It was Mohsni that opened the scoring on 54 minutes, the towering defender turning brilliantly in the box before blasting a shot into the net for his fourth goal of the campaign.

If that was good Rangers' second just three minutes later was stunning with Macleod’s acrobatic overhead kick highlighting once again his undoubted potential and growing confidence in a Light Blue jersey.

Somerset Park was packed for kick off and with both sets of fans creating a terrific atmosphere the home side came close to shocking their Glasgow opponents with just four minutes played.

Michael Donald’s delightful, curling shot floated over Cammy Bell and looked to be dipping in. However, with many of Ayr’s supporters celebrating, it smacked off the post before bouncing into the Gers keeper’s hands.

It was certainly an action packed start to the game and on 10 minutes a tackle by Arnold Peralta on Mark Roberts left Ayr’s player/manager sprawled on the turf. Referee Bobby Madden had a chat with the Honduran but decided against issuing the first yellow card of the afternoon.

A shot by Nicky Law in the 13th minute was Rangers’ first real attempt at goal but it went well over David Hutton’s cross bar before Andy Little had a great opportunity to break the deadlock.

The Ulsterman used his pace to beat the offside trap and latch on to Jon Daly’s intelligent through pass but instead of shooting he cut it back and centre half Martyn Campbell booted the ball clear.

It was proving to be an intriguing contest and after Ayr skipper Scott McLaughlin had brought out a fingertip save from Bell with a curling free-kick Gers captain Lee McCulloch then smashed a shot from a similar distance which stung Hutton’s hands albeit it was straight at the Ayr keeper.

Lee Wallace’s importance to Rangers is evident in every game right now both in defence and in attack and on 25 minutes he stepped up to take a free-kick from 20 yards after Richard Foster had been caught by a late challenge. His low shot had plenty of power but Hutton was at the right side of the goal to make the save.

Prior to half time the ref had to pull out his yellow card on a couple of occasions after Mohsni had fouled Donald while Roberts was needlessly booked for shouting at Peralta as he lay on the ground. The Ayr boss thought the midfielder was acting when in fact he looked to be caught in the face by Robbie Crawford’s boot after he had been brought down.

Ian Black again had a very effective game for Gers and before the interval his left foot drive whistled past the postage stamp corner of Hutton’s goal before Daly was guilty of missing a snip from close range after Little had flicked on a cross from Peralta. To be fair to the striker the ball came to him quickly and he couldn’t quite adjust his feet in time to find the net.

At the start of the second half former Killie keeper Cammy Bell received got a frosty welcome from Ayr support behind him and three minutes into the restart a swipe by Kyle on Peralta resulted in the third booking of the game.

With Ayr working hard it was going to take a moment of magic for Rangers to get their noses in front and in the 54th minute Mohsni provided it.

A late challenge by right back Adam Hunter on his former Murray Park team mate Macleod halted play temporarily but Black took the free-kick quickly and found Little who controlled the ball inside the 18-yard box. The ball, however, dropped to Mohsni who powered a right foot shot on the turn beyond Hutton at his near post.

Yet again it was a brilliant finish by the French-Tunisian defender who also had a hand in Rangers' second goal just three minutes later.

Peralta’s corner found Mohsni and when he headed the ball into the air Macleod produced a terrific overhead kick from six yards which clipped the underside of the crossbar before almost ripping through the net.

In the space of three minutes Rangers had taken control of this match and they could have added to their lead when Wallace darted into the box but with just the keeper to beat he clipped his shot over the bar in front of the travelling Bears who were clearly enjoying their Sunday trip to Ayrshire.

Full credit must go to Roberts’ men who worked hard throughout and showed why they were sitting fourth in League One prior to this afternoon’s action.

Rangers, however, were too strong for them after the break and McCoist should be delighted with the determination his players displayed to pick up three points at one of the divisions trickiest away venues.

AYR UTD (4-4-2): Hutton; Hunter, Campbell, Lithgow, Pope; Donald, Crawford (Forrest 80), McLaughlin, Roberts (Marenghi 64); Moffat, Kyle (Malcolm 73)

Subs Not Used: Muir, Shankland, McGowan, Longridge

Bookings: Roberts (36), Kyle (48), McLaughlin (76)

RANGERS (4-1-3-2): Bell; Foster, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace; Black; Peralta (Crawford 86), Law, Macleod; Little (Templeton 72), Daly

Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Faure, Clark, Aird, S Smith

Bookings: Mohsni (34)

Goals: Mohsni (54), Macleod (57)

REF: Bobby Madden

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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