East Stirling 2 Rangers 6: McCulloch hits two in rout to send Gers five points clear
15:26 GMT, 17 November 2012
15:26 GMT, 17 November 2012
Rangers produced a clinical second-half display to defeat East Stirling 6-2 at Ochilview.
The Ibrox side netted four times after the break to extend their lead at the top of Irn-Bru Division Three to five points.
Lee McCulloch opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 12 minutes and East Stirling were dealt a further blow when Phillipp Zufle was ordered off for a poorly-timed challenge on Kevin Kyle.
Andrew Little doubled Rangers' lead after 39 minutes, however the hosts replied just one minute later as Kevin Turner headed home Nathan Shepherd's corner.
Goal machine: Lee McCulloch hit the first from the spot
East Stirling: Hay, Jackson, Miller, Sean Kelly, Shepherd, Greenhill (Hunter 67), Zufle, McKernon, Maxwell (Herd 65), Turner, Quinn (Begg 73). Subs not used: Gordon, Hume.
Sent Off: Zufle (33).
Goals: Turner 41, Quinn 58 pen.
Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou, McCulloch, Hegarty, Wallace, Little (Aird 78), Black, Macleod (Crawford 83), McKay, Shiels (Naismith 68), Kyle. Subs not used: Scott Gallagher, Hutton.
Booked: Hegarty, Little.
Goals: McCulloch 12 pen, Little 39, Wallace 49, Kyle 63, Naismith 71, McCulloch 82 (pen).
Referee: George Salmond.
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But Lee Wallace re-established a
two-goal advantage for Ally McCoist's side four minutes after the break
before their lead was cut for the second time when Paul Quinn slotted
home from the penalty spot.
Rangers were rewarded for their
dominance throughout much of the second half when Kevin Kyle and Kai
Naismith both netted to put the game well out of the reach of their
opponents and McCulloch added a sixth goal eight minutes from time.
The visitors enjoyed the majority of
the early possession and Kyle passed up a good chance to open the
scoring after eight minutes when he failed to hit the target after a
neat passing exchange between Ian Black and Wallace.
The large Rangers support did not
have to wait much longer to see their side break the deadlock, though,
as referee George Salmond pointed to the spot after Sean Kelly hacked
down Dean Shiels.
McCulloch stepped up and calmly slotted the resulting penalty low beyond Hay.
Barrie McKay went close to doubling
the visitors' lead when he raced on to Lewis McLeod's through ball and
chipped the ball over the onrushing Hay, fortunately for East Stirling,
though, the ball rolled past the right-hand post.
The hosts responded in a positive fashion, forcing a number of corners that troubled the Rangers defence.
Scott Maxwell tried to catch out Neil Alexander with a shot from outside the box, however the keeper comfortably gathered.
The task facing East Stirling was made even greater when Zufle was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Kyle.
Hay produced a good low stop to deny
Black as Rangers tried to take advantage of their one-man advantage and
they extended their lead six minutes before half-time when Little's
volley looped over the keeper and into the net.
But Turner connected with Nathan
Shepherd's pinpoint cross one minute later to restore some hope for the
hosts going into the break.
Rangers began the second half
brightly and re-established a two goal lead four minutes after the
restart when Wallace burst forward and drove a low shot past the
The home side were presented with the
perfect opportunity to reduce the deficit after 58 minutes when
McCulloch bundled over Shepherd inside the box and Quinn made no mistake
in dispatching the penalty.
Black came agonisingly close to
scoring his first goal for Rangers on the hour mark as his shot cannoned
back off the inside of the post.
Kyle then opened his account for the Ibrox club when he swept the ball home from close range after Andy Little's mishit shot.
Naismith replaced Shiels after 68
minutes and the 20-year-old wasted little time in getting on the
scoresheet, slotting home McKay's cut-back from the edge of the box.
McCulloch converted from the spot for
the second time with eight minutes remaining after Steven Jackson
handled inside the box – his 19th goal of the season.
Substitute Fraser Aird flashed a shot
wide of the target in the closing minutes, but Rangers were unable to
extend their lead further.