Rangers 4 Montrose 1: New boys Macleod and Crawford strike as Gers close in on lead
16:32 GMT, 23 September 2012
Lewis Macleod and Robbie Crawford both claimed their first goals for the club as Rangers moved to within a point of the Irn-Bru Third Division summit with a win over Montrose.
It could have been a difficult day for the Light Blues when an own goal from Anestis Argyriou cancelled out Dean Shiels' opener.
But Macleod restored the advantage before Lee McCulloch grabbed his 10th goal of the season and young Crawford came off the bench to add his own name to the score-sheet late on.
Cheers: Lewis MacLeod (right) celebrates his goal
Rangers: Alexander, Faure, Perry, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Argyriou, Macleod, Black (Sandaza 64), McKay (Aird 55), Shiels (Crawford 79), McCulloch.
Subs Not Used: Gallacher, Stella.
Goals: Shiels 27, Macleod 55, McCulloch 60, Crawford 82.
Montrose: David Crawford, McNalley, Lunan, Campbell, Ricky McIntosh (McGuire 69), Gray (Winter 78),Jonathan Crawford, Masson, Young, Leighton McIntosh (Johnston 69), Gary Wood.
Subs Not Used: Sandy Wood, McLeish.
Booked: Masson, Lunan, Jonathan Crawford.
Goals: Argyriou 35 og.
Ref: Stephen Finnie (Scotland).
Rangers made one change for the clash at Ibrox after crashing out of the Ramsdens Cup to Queen of the South in midweek, with Sebastien Faure drafted into the side and Francisco Sandaza dropped to the bench.
With Ally McCoist preparing to turn 50 tomorrow, he was clearly hoping for an early birthday present of three points against Montrose following a couple of poor results.
But any suggestions that fans may be losing patience with the manager were dispelled when a section of the support unfurled a massive banner before kick-off proclaiming: 'We will follow in the footsteps of his team. Ally McCoist MBE.'
Once the action was under way, Montrose made clear their intentions to add to Rangers' recent woes, following the cup exit and last weekend's draw at Annan.
The match was just two minutes old when Leighton McIntosh saw his early effort deflected just over by Faure.
The resulting corner then caused problems for the Gers defence as Argyriou rattled the post in his attempts to clear the danger.
Neil Alexander was called into action to smother from Gary Wood and Terry Masson's tame strike was also dealt with by the goalkeeper as the visitors piled forward.
Once again, Rangers had endured a slow start to a game but could have been ahead following a decent move which began with Ian Black releasing Barrie McKay down the left flank.
The teenager then supplied the cut-back for Shiels but his half-volley was high and wide and failed to trouble goalkeeper David Crawford.
Setback: Montrose's Gary Wood scores
The Northern Irishman made amends for the miss with 27 minutes on the clock when he raced on to McCulloch's flick on and lashed past the grasp of Crawford from 10 yards.
The Gable Endies were back on level terms just six minutes later when Ryan McIntosh tried to pick out Wood with a free-kick only for Argyriou to connect and inadvertently send the ball past Alexander and into the back of his own net.
McKay could have netted early in the second half when he met a neat pass from McCulloch, only to drag his shot across the face of goal and wide of the post.
Rangers restored their lead 10 minutes after the restart when Macleod ran on to a Faure ball and turned his marker before lashing low into the far bottom corner.
Three: Lee McCullock strikes Rangers' third goal
The home side made their first change seconds later when McKay was withdrawn for Fraser Aird, allowing his fellow youngster to make his first senior appearance.
Macleod then turned provider for Rangers' third of the day when he teed up the shot for McCulloch to power home from just inside the area.
Sandaza was thrown into the action after 64 minutes and was immediately tripped on the edge of the box, before a full-stretch Crawford just managed to tip over Lee Wallace's curling free-kick.
Aird was impressive and added an injection of energy to the game, as Montrose began to tire and Rangers looked in control of the match.
Robbie Crawford put the gloss on the win just two minutes after replacing Shiels when he supplied a confident side-foot finish after meeting a pass from Wallace with eight minutes to go.