YET another strong second-half display gave Rangers their 12th League One win on the bounce and their 16th consecutive victory in all competitions this season.
Jon Daly’s well-taken header just 33 seconds after the break put the Light Blues ahead against an Airdrie side that rarely troubled Cammy Bell.
Lee McCulloch then blasted home a penalty kick in the 63rd minute after David Templeton had been brought down in the box by Diamonds defender Gregor Buchanan.
This was not Rangers’ most polished performance this season but after picking up several injuries in midweek against Dunfermline it will have pleased Ally McCoist that his side again rolled up their sleeves to secure three more valuable points.
In defence the bruise brothers McCulloch and Bilel Mohsni were rock solid despite the Gers skipper having six stitches in his head and Mohsni a broken nose!
With both players making themselves available for selection the manager had to make just two changes to his starting line-up to face the Diamonds with Seb Faure and Nicky Clark replacing the injured Richard Foster and Andy Little.
As the teams warmed up the clouds above Ibrox dispersed, leaving just a bright blue sky as the players emerged from the tunnel for kick off and fans in the Govan Stand created a stunning card display with the message ‘Lest We Forget’.
A perfectly observed minute silence followed for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country with an L118 artillery gun marking the start and end of the 60 seconds.
Once the action started it was Rangers that dictated the early play and it was clear Airdie’s aim was to sit deep and frustrate the home side.
It took until the 7th minute for the Light Blues to have their first attempt on goal and it was Daly who had it. Wallace produced a deep cross to the back post but the striker’s downward header was saved comfortably by 21-year-old Andrew Duncan.
Daly then had an almost identical opportunity but his header, this time from a Bilel Mohsni delivery, went wide.
On 16 minutes a poor clearance from Duncan landed at Clark’s feet but after he had beat his marker with a burst of pace he blasted a low shot across goal and past the post.
It was looking good for Rangers in the early stages and in the very next attack Lee Wallace found acres of space down the left but his driven cross flew across the face of goal and out of play.
On the half hour mark Clark was then guilty of missing a sitter. Wallace attempted a long-range effort which lacked power and was controlled by the Gers number 10 in the 18-yard box. But with fans expecting to see the net ripple Clark’s shot was saved by Duncan who dived low to his left to make a good stop.
With Airdrie posing no threat whatsoever it was pretty much an onslaught with Rangers throwing players forward at will. And on 35 minutes Law did brilliantly to get away from three defenders but when he cut the ball back to Wallace he shot over the bar.
This summed up a frustrating first half in which Rangers were dominant but also wasteful in front of goal. Once again an improved second-half display was required and it was that man Daly that made it 1-0 almost immediately after the restart.
Faure found Peralta in space on the right and his cross took a nick off a defender’s head before arriving at the big striker who nodded it past Duncan who was wrong footed as he attempted to get back across his goal.
It was Daly’s 16th goal of an already impressive debut campaign and it put Rangers firmly in control of this one-sided contest.
On 48 minutes Clark had an opportunity to double his side’s advantage but Duncan again did well to get down at his near post to get a hand on the ball. The striker then hit the bar with a header after great wing play from Wallace.
It clearly wasn’t going to be Nicky’s day and he was unlucky yet again before the hour mark when he linked up brilliantly with Law but again Duncan was there to deny him a deserved goal.
On 63 minutes the league leaders added a second goal after Templeton won a penalty for his side. The winger was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Gregor Buchanan and McCulloch smashed his penalty into the net with aplomb.
With nothing now to lose Airdrie tried to get back into the match in the latter stages with Nathan Blockley coming close with a sweetly hit half volley at Bell's back post which soared into the Broomloan Stand.
This, however, was as good as it got for the visitors and at the final whistle Rangers undoubtedly deserved their victory.
RANGERS (4-1-3-2): Bell; Faure, Mohsni, McCulloch, Wallace; Black; Peralta (Aird 76), Law, Templeton (Crawford 85); Daly, Clark (Macleod 76)
SUBS: Simonsen, Cribari, Smith, Hutton
GOALS: Daly 46, McCulloch 63
AIRDRIEONIANS (4-1-4-1): Duncan; Buchanan, Drummond, McCormack, Boyle; Hardie; Bain (Watt 83), Sinclair, Coogans, Blockley; Lister
SUBS: Grier, Coult, O’Byrne, McLaren, Trialist, Barclay
BOOKINGS: Bain, Coogans, Boyle, Blockley
REF: Don Robertson
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