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Rangers v East Stirling match report

Rangers 3 East Stirling 1: Little double puts Gers another win closer to title

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

13:55 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:55 GMT, 2 March 2013

Rangers fought back from a half-time deficit to beat East Stirlingshire 3-1 and move another win closer to the Third Division title.

Two days after confirmation the club would not be stripped of five Premier League titles, they moved closer to another accolade and now require just five more wins to secure the championship.

Ibrox was in a buoyant mood as a result, but there were a few nerves jangling when Andy Stirling gave the visitors the lead five minutes before half-time.

However, normal service was resumed after the break, with a double from Andrew Little and another from Lee McCulloch earning a comfortable win.

Rangers now have a 23-point lead at the summit.

Full report and match pics to follow


Double strike: Andrew Little scored twice for Rangers in the win over East Stirling

Double strike: Andrew Little scored twice for Rangers in the win over East Stirling

Match Facts

Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou, Hegarty, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Naismith (McKay 65), Black, Hutton, Templeton (Aird 90+1), Little, McCulloch (Hemmings 86)

Substitutes not used: Gallagher, Faure

Scorer: Little 50, 62; McCulloch 61

East Stirlingshire: Hay, Shepherd (Gillespie 68), Miller, Buchanan, Maxwell, Turner, Greenhill, Hunter, Stirling, Quinn (Zufle 75), Glasgow

Substitutes not used: Gordon, Wright, Benton

Bookings: Turner, Gillespie, Buchanan

Scorer: Stirling 40

Referee: Brian Colvin (Scotland)

Attendance: 44,534

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Queens Park 0 Rangers 1: Match report

Queen's Park 0 Rangers 1: Aird leaves it late as Gers sneak past 10 men at Hampden

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UPDATED:

15:02 GMT, 29 December 2012

A last-gasp goal from substitute Fraser Aird ensured Rangers' winning streak continued as they claimed victory over 10-man Queen's Park.

The clash at the national stadium looked set to end goalless before the injury-time strike sealed a 10th win in a row for the Irn-Bru Third Division leaders.

The Old Firm clash with Celtic may be the most famous in Scottish football but the original Glasgow derby actually took place between Queen's Park and Rangers.

Beter late than never: Fraser Aird celebrates his injury-time winner for Rangers

Beter late than never: Fraser Aird celebrates his injury-time winner for Rangers

MATCH FACTS

Queen's Park: Parry, McGinn, Little, Brough, Robertson, Gallacher, Anderson, Keenan, Watt (Connolly 75), Quinn, Shankland (McParland 89).

Subs not used: Lochhead, Bradley, Longworth

Booked: Watt, Brough, Gallacher, Anderson, Shankland, Connolly

Sent off: Brough

Rangers:
Alexander, Hegarty, Perry, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Crawford, Black
(Aird 64), Hutton (Sandaza 71), McKay, McCulloch, Templeton.

Subs not used: Currie, Cole, Faure

Goal: Aird 90+2

Booked: Black,

Referee: William Collum

Attendance: 30,117

And, according to the official match-day programme, it is also the oldest surviving senior derby in world football.

The meeting between both clubs at Ibrox earlier this season saw the resumption of a fixture first played 135 years ago.

Today's match – in front of a crowd of 30,117 – was the first Hampden clash between the sides since November 1957, when Rangers came out on top as 4-2 winners.

Ally McCoist was forced to make two changes from the side which defeated Clyde on Boxing Day.

Andy Little was sidelined through injury, while Lewis Macleod revealed on Twitter before kick-off that he was ill with a virus, meaning he was absent for the first time this season.

Queen's Park had given Rangers a tough match at Ibrox in October and they looked well up for this encounter, carving out a couple of chances early on.

A free-kick 20 yards out provided an opportunity to put the visitors under pressure but Michael Keenan was wasteful with an effort that was well off-target.

Familiar surroundings: Gers boss Ally McCoist has been a regular visitor to Hampden Park over the years

Familiar surroundings: Gers boss Ally McCoist has been a regular visitor to Hampden Park over the years

David Anderson came closer when he tried his luck with a shot from just outside the box which fizzed across goal and just wide of the upright.

The best chance so far fell to Rangers when a lovely cross from the left from Barrie McKay set up David Templeton for a shot that flashed inches over the crossbar.

Robbie Crawford was not too far away when he met a Black cross 10 yards out and bulleted a header just over, as the first half ended goalless.

Getting tight: Rangers ace David Templeton (right) and Michael Keenan battle for the ball

Getting tight: Rangers ace David Templeton (right) and Michael Keenan battle for the ball

Rangers continued to push for the opener after the restart and a lofted effort from Lee McCulloch landed on the roof of the net, with Neil Parry untroubled in goal.

The goalkeeper was then called into action to make an impressive save to deny McKay, who unleashed a powerful drive after a one-two with McCulloch.

Queen's Park were dealt a blow when they were reduced to 10 men when James Brough picked up a second caution for a foul on Templeton after 56 minutes.

Start the party: Aird (No 17) leads the way as the Rangers players celebrate his late goal against Queen's Park

Start the party: Aird (No 17) leads the way as the Rangers players celebrate his late goal against Queen's Park

Parry reacted quickly again to snuff out another Rangers threat, this time racing off his line to block from Lee Wallace, who had been teed up by Templeton.

Aird had replaced Black and Francisco Sandaza was thrown into the action for Kyle Hutton with 20 minutes to go, with Rangers struggling to break down a stubborn Spiders side.

The Spanish striker was clearly aiming to make an immediate impact but his finishing let him down as he rifled into the side-netting.

Hard to handle: Paul Gallacher has a nibble at Templeton and the Gers player ends up on the deck

Hard to handle: Paul Gallacher has a nibble at Templeton and the Gers player ends up on the deck

The home side could have snatched the points when Aidan Connolly released Lawrence Shankland in plenty of space but his shot lacked power and was easily smothered by Neil Alexander.

Shankland had the chance to make amends with a free-kick that escaped the grasp of the Rangers goalkeeper but swerved past the far post.

Sandaza again rippled the side-netting for Rangers, before Aird grabbed the winner in injury time with a shot from just outside the area that squeezed past several bodies in the box and nestled in the bottom corner.

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Elgin 2 Rangers 6

Elgin 2 Rangers 6: Rampant visitors run riot to stretch lead at top of table

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UPDATED:

15:30 GMT, 22 December 2012

Andy Little and Lee McCulloch helped themselves to two goals each as Rangers moved nine points clear with a game in hand at the top of the Irn-Bru Third Division.

Lewis Macleod and Kyle Hutton also claimed a goal apiece against Elgin, while Daniel Moore and Mark Nicolson found the net for the home side in an entertaining top-of-the-table tussle at Borough Briggs.

The clash between the two clubs should have been played on November 25 but was postponed then after Elgin sold too many tickets.

On our way: Rangers captain Lee McCulloch (left) celebrates his second goal against Elgin

On our way: Rangers captain Lee McCulloch (left) celebrates his second goal against Elgin

Match facts

Elgin: Gibson, Niven, Crighton, Nicolson, Gunn (Millar 79), Cameron, O'Donoghue, Harkins (McMullan 84), Moore, Wyness (Beveridge 70), Leslie.

Subs Not Used: Malin, McHardy.

Booked: Harkins, Crighton, Moore.

Goals: Moore 18, Nicolson 32.

Rangers: Aird, Argyriou (Perry 46), Hegarty, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Little, Hutton, Macleod (Stella 79), Templeton (Crawford 70), McCulloch, McKay.

Subs Not Used: Currie, Naismith.

Booked: Hegarty.

Goals: Little 5, 24, McCulloch 41, 60,Macleod 64, Hutton 83.

Att: 3,448

Ref: Brian Colvin

The blunder earned the Moray outfit a 25,000 fine from the Scottish Football League, while chairman Graham Tatters was fined 1,000 by the Scottish Football Association earlier this week.

With the fixture finally under way, Rangers were clearly keen to make up for lost time and took the lead after five minutes.

Little collected a neat pass through the middle from David Templeton before rounding goalkeeper John Gibson and slotting into the back of the net.

Elgin were back on level terms with 17 minutes on the clock when the ball broke for Moore and he sent an impressive curling effort past the reach of Neil Alexander.

Rangers restored their lead after 24 minutes when Little grabbed his second of the day.

Templeton was again the provider with the cut-back and all that was required was a simple tap-in from the Northern Ireland international.

Again, the home side responded positively with a goal of their own.

Main man: Rangers' Andy Little scores his first goal of a successful afternoon

Main man: Rangers' Andy Little scores his first goal of a successful afternoon

Chris Hegarty was booked for a foul on David Niven on the edge of the box and Nicolson dispatched a superb swerving free-kick into the top corner with 32 minutes gone.

Elgin could have added to their tally when Brian Cameron unleashed a decent strike but Alexander was able to smother.

Instead, it was Rangers who had the net bulging again four minues before the break.

Little collected from Hutton before supplying the cross for McCulloch to lash home in off the crossbar.

Rangers made a change at the break when Anestis Argyriou was replaced by Ross Perry.

Elgin looked dangerous after the restart
and Craig Gunn squandered the chance to find the net when he blasted
over after Alexander spilled the ball.

Not enough: Elgin's Mark Nicolson celebrates his goal against Rangers

Not enough: Elgin's Mark Nicolson celebrates his goal against Rangers

McCulloch – back in a forward role after a recent spell in defence – was on target again when he raced onto a Templeton ball and fired across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner after 60 minutes.

Macleod added his name to the scoresheet four minutes later with a powerful, low strike from just inside the box.

Rangers threw Robbie Crawford into the action for Templeton and the youngster almost claimed a goal of his own within a couple of minutes when he forced Gibson into a great save.

Hutton put the gloss on the win when he rifled home from 20 yards after 83 minutes, before Alexander denied Moore from the penalty spot two minutes later after Hutton brought down Stuart Leslie.

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Rangers 2 Stirling 0: Templeton and Little on target in another Ibrox stroll

Rangers 2 Stirling 0: Templeton and Little on target in another Ibrox stroll

PUBLISHED:

17:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 8 December 2012

David Templeton and Andy Little supplied the goals as Rangers avenged their only Irn-Bru Third Division defeat so far this season with a win over Stirling Albion.

Bottom side Binos had claimed a shock win at Forthbank in October but were left empty-handed this time.

Rangers used the match at Ibrox to celebrate their 140th year, having come through one of the most turbulent spells in their history which saw them suffer administration and liquidation before being re-launched in Scottish football's bottom tier.

Competitive: Rangers' Lee Wallace and Stirling's Ross McGeachie tussle

Competitive: Rangers' Lee Wallace and Stirling's Ross McGeachie tussle

Match facts

Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou, Hegarty, McCulloch, Wallace, Templeton (Walsh 88), Hutton, Macleod, McKay, Shiels (Little 77), Kyle (Naismith 68). Subs not used: Scott Gallagher, Cole.

Booked: Kyle, Templeton.

Goals: Templeton 59, Little 90.

Stirling: Peat, McClune, Thom (White 89), Bishop, McAnespie, McCulloch (Davidson 82), McSorley, McGeachie (Flood 77), Ferry, Day, Graham Weir. Subs not used: Filler, Allison.

Sent Off: McSorley (86).

Booked: McCulloch, McSorley, McGeachie, Bishop, McAnespie.

Att: 49,913.

Ref: Mike Tumilty.

Around 40 former players were
welcomed on to the pitch at half-time by pundit Andy Gray, including
members of the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup winning side and players
from the Nine in a Row era.

There was also a card display and
fireworks for the season-record crowd of 49,913, although visiting fans
refused to join in the festivities and displayed a banner of their own
which read: 'More Like 140 Days'.

Ally McCoist had stressed beforehand
the importance of marking the occasion with three points and ensuring
Rangers remain top of the table.

Templeton and Kyle Hutton both started, with Little on the bench and Ian Black missing through injury.
Sixteen-year old Tom Walsh was named as a substitute for the first time, while Lee Wallace made his 50th appearance for Rangers.

Perhaps it was the celebratory mood
or a desire to avenge that defeat which saw Rangers pile on the pressure
from the first whistle.

After Marc McCulloch went into the
referee's book for a hard challenge on Templeton with seconds on the
clock, Lewis Macleod forced a decent save from Mark Peat at his near
post.

Templeton then lashed inches past the
post from distance, before the winger was again the victim of a poor
tackle which saw Daly McSorley cautioned on this occasion.

Show of support: Rangers fans air their views

Show of support: Rangers fans air their views

There was little respite for Stirling
early on and Macleod's blistering strike was just off target and the
goalkeeper was called into action again to block an angled drive from
Barrie McKay.

The best chance so far came when
Kevin Kyle knocked down into the path of the onrushing Macleod in front
of goal, but he connected awkwardly and the effort bounced over the
crossbar.

Albion duo Ross McGeachie and Jamie
Bishop then collected yellow cards in quick succession – also for fouls
on Templeton, who was making his first start since suffering ankle
ligament damage in mid-September.

Kyle had netted in the last two
outings but was denied by the woodwork just before the break when his
shot smacked off the post as Stirling survived the onslaught to head
into half-time on level terms.

Rangers still looked dangerous after the restart and the breakthrough finally came after 59 minutes.
McKay burst down the left wing and supplied a lovely ball across the face of goal where Templeton was waiting to lash home.

Kal Naismith almost added his name to
the scoresheet when he raced on to a McKay pass and forced a save from
Peat, before fellow substitute Little rippled the side-netting with the
rebound.

There was a tense moment for Rangers when Albion's Josh Flood saw his strike crash off the post.

McSorely was sent packing for a second yellow with five minutes to go, before Gers youngster Walsh was handed his debut.

Little then put the gloss on the win when he slotted home into the bottom corner in the final minute.

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Annan 0 Rangers 0: Templeton injury caps miserable day for Ally

Annan 0 Rangers 0: Templeton injury caps miserable day for Ally

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 15 September 2012

Rangers continue to wait for their first away win in the Irn-Bru Third Division after being held by Annan in front of a record crowd at Galabank.

Ally McCoist's team dropped points for a third successive away game and suffered another blow when David Templeton was carried off with an ankle injury.

Concern: Rangers' David Templeton receives treatment

Concern: Rangers' David Templeton receives treatment before being stretchered off

Match facts

Annan Athletic: Alex Mitchell, Blake, Peter Watson, Swinglehurst, McGowan, Steele (McKechnie 87), Jardine, Chaplain, Ramage (Sloan 78), Murray, Daly (McGachie 68). Subs not used: Summersgill, Thorburn.

Booked: Daly,Chaplain.

Rangers: Alexander, Faure, Perry, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Templeton (Sandaza 10), Black, McKay, Macleod, Shiels (Crawford 78), McCulloch. Subs not used: Gallacher, Hegarty, Kyle.

Booked: Faure,Wallace.

Referee: Craig Charleston.

Attendance: 2,517.

Rangers again struggled to impose themselves on part-time opponents and home midfielder Jack Steele missed a great chance early in the second half.

Rangers only exerted superiority in the final quarter and even then lacked penetration and Alex Mitchell secured the point for the hosts with a stunning last-minute save from Lee McCulloch.

Annan were well-marshalled by imposing centre-backs Steven Swinglehurst and Peter Watson on their artificial pitch and their hard-working and skilful midfield matched Rangers for much of the game.

Galabank housed a record attendance of 2,517, enabled by the summer installation of terracing behind a second goal.

Chairman Henry McClelland rubbished
the predictions of Scottish football's impending doom that accompanied
votes on the destiny of the newco Rangers by writing 'we are all loving
Armageddon' in his programme notes.

He also reflected that the Rangers fans he had spoken to in the
build-up to the game were falling in love with football again but they
might need some away victories to retain such affection following
previous draws at Peterhead and Berwick.

Templeton is carried off

Templeton is carried off

Their latest journey into the unknown took them to a town with a population of 8,300.

Annan were the newest entrants to the Scottish Football League before Rangers, winning admission in 2008 after neighbours Gretna went into liquidation.

The club, who previously played in the East of Scotland League, accommodated French and German television crews with much of the press seated on chairs from the social club just next to the corner flag as they squeezed as many fans as possible into their one stand.

Rangers, who were without Andrew Little and Anestis Argyriou through injury, suffered another blow after five minutes when Templeton crumpled holding his left ankle without anyone near him as he ran with the ball down the wing.

Frustration: Rangers' Francisco Sandaza misses a great chance

Frustration: Rangers' Francisco Sandaza misses a great chance

Francisco Sandaza eventually came on as Templeton was carried away on a stretcher. There was little meaningful goalmouth action in an even opening 20 minutes and Annan had the first real chance when Michael McGowan's cross found its way to Michael Daly in space inside the box but the centre-forward could not get the ball down quickly enough and the visiting defence managed to scramble the ball to safety.

Daly and McCulloch headed over after corners at either end and Annan survived a counter-attack when Steele produced a last-ditch sliding tackle to stop Barrie McKay converting fellow teenager Lewis McLeod's ball over the top.

Mitchell made his first save in the 29th minute when he got down to save from Sandaza after Dean Shiels had found the Spaniard's run.

McCulloch volleyed wide from Sandaza's cross but Annan were still getting men forward and a corner from Graeme Ramage flashed across the Rangers goalmouth.

Rangers were almost exposed in the final minute of the half when Steele fired a bouncing ball just wide and McCoist looked an angry man as he marched towards the tunnel despite Shiels seeing a shot beaten away by Mitchell in injury-time.

New surrounding: Fans in the stands at Annan

New surrounding: Fans in the stands at Annan

Rangers and Annan Athletic

Alexander made the first save of the second half, from Daly's header, and the hosts had a great chance in the 55th minute.

Ramage was brought down as he went to collect Scott Chaplain's pass but Steele ran on to the loose ball to leave him through on goal but the midfielder dragged the ball wide from 15 yards.

Alexander exchanged words with fans behind his goal, apparently frustrated by criticism, and the away support's upset was audible when Sebastien Faure hit two crosses into their ranks in quick succession.

Rangers did begin to create chances after the hour mark. McCulloch had a scuffed effort cleared in the goalmouth and Shiels chipped the ball harmlessly into Mitchell's arms after a good pass from McKay.

Mitchell blocked Sandaza's shot with his feet after the Spaniard cut in from the left. Rangers found an urgency, or perhaps desperation, to their play and pushed their opponents back for much of the final quarter.

Both Sandaza and Lee Wallace were both off target from long range but they struggled to carve out a clear chance until the ball fell for McCulloch 15 yards out following a long free-kick.

The striker caught it on the half volley and the ball seemed destined for the top corner but Mitchell somehow threw himself across goal to touch it over the bar.

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Chris Hegarty becomes first newco Rangers signing

First in: Youngster Hegarty pledges future as newco Rangers' first signing

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 29 June 2012

Youngster Chris Hegarty has become the first player to sign for newco Rangers.

The defender, 19, has committed himself to the new regime by putting pen to paper on a 12-month deal.

First signing: Chris Hegarty has signed for newco Rangers

First signing: Chris Hegarty has signed for newco Rangers

The Northern Ireland under-21 captain was a free agent after his previous contract with Rangers expired this summer but he will now remain at Ibrox.

Hegarty made his first team debut against Linfield in a friendly earlier this year but has yet to make a competitive appearance for the senior side and is determined to make an impact next term.

He told RangersTV: 'It's massive for me. You grow up dreaming of these things and the dream's coming true for me but I have to make sure it stays that way.

'It's a big opportunity for me so I just have to knuckle down and show what I can do and hopefully next year I'll be in the same position.

'Obviously there has been a lot of uncertainty over the summer but I always said that I wanted to come back and play for Rangers.

'Hopefully I can help the club win whichever league we're in this season.

'It's time for us to step up and show the fans what we can do and hopefully show them value for their hard earned season ticket money.'

Hegarty was one of 13 players – including fellow free agents Andrew Mitchell and Salim Kerkar – who reported to Murray Park yesterday for the first day of pre-season training.

At least 10 players have objected to the transfer of their contracts to Charles Green`s new company.

In training: Hegarty (left) warms up with his team-mates

In training: Hegarty (left) warms up with his team-mates

Hegarty added: 'It's been hard but as players we can't deal with the stuff that happens off the pitch, it's on the pitch that we can show 100 per cent and win games for the club.

'I always wanted to come back here as a Rangers player and being a fan of the club I wanted to show my support because they have shown a lot of support towards me.

'It's a good time for young players to be here and the manager has a lot of faith in all the players which always helps.

'We have to step up and show what we can do. There's not one of the lads here that thinks they aren't good enough to play.

'We're all here on merit and we want to do well for the club.

'We're a group of winners and we're together as a team and I think we have a very good opportunity, with the players we have, to do well.'

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Rangers in crisis: Players will leave – Mark Hateley

McCoist could walk out if Rangers lose stars, warns Ibrox hero Hateley

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 21 May 2012

Former Rangers hero Mark Hateley fears Ally McCoist could quit Ibrox — if a summer exodus of stars renders the club unable to compete for honours.

The manager has held Rangers together since they were plunged into administration in February, acting as everything from head of the football department to spokesman for the entire Ibrox family.

Although McCoist has insisted he has no intention of walking away, former strike partner Hateley is concerned that losing his best players — and being unable to replace them because of an SFA transfer embargo — will present him with a tricky dilemma.

Old and new: Young defender Chris Hegarty (left) and club legend Mark Hateley

Old and new: Young defender Chris Hegarty (left) and club legend Mark Hateley

‘He needs the team to be competitive, that’s the key,’ said Hateley. ‘All top players have that edge, as do top managers. Ally needs Rangers to have a chance of winning something.

‘When that comes along, a decision will have to be taken. If Ally thinks he can make the club competitive, retain some of the better players, then who knows’

Asked outright if McCoist’s future hinged on keeping a core of experienced pros on board, Hateley (left) said: ‘Yes. You have a club that is in crisis and a governing body trying to get its house in order.

‘You have to get the wage bill down. To do that, you have to sell your best players. If they go and you can’t bring in any other players, the club is finished.

‘The top players might leave and contracts could be ripped up should the club come back as a newco. You could end up with 20 players leaving and not being able to sign any.

‘You have to look at Ally in all of this. The fans will be disappointed if the takeover deal doesn’t go through, but where will Ally be if nothing positive comes out of this

Work to be done: Ally McCoist faces a fight to keep hold of his stars

Work to be done: Ally McCoist faces a fight to keep hold of his stars

‘Half the players might not be here next year.

In my opinion, you might as well go to the Third Division in those circumstances because then you could rebuild over a period of time.

‘You’ve effectively got your legs tied together and you are trying to play a game of football. That is what I can’t understand in all this.

‘I would say being a Rangers fan has played a part in Ally staying around. But he is an intelligent man and he doesn’t give up — that’s why he had a successful playing career.

‘If it wasn’t Rangers, it might have been different for him. If you don’t have a love of the club, your mindset will be different.

‘You always learn more in the bad times — it’s easy when you are winning. He had a lot of great times as a player and as assistant under Walter Smith.

‘If he can survive this and get the club moving forward, well, he’s been remarkable.’

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St Johnstone 0 Rangers 4: Sone Aluko hat-trick on final day of season

St Johnstone 0 Rangers 4: Aluko hat-trick sees McCoist's men sign-off in style

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UPDATED:

14:19 GMT, 13 May 2012

Sone Aluko claimed a hat-trick as Rangers cruised to a win at St Johnstone in the final Clydesdale Bank Premier League game of the season.

And, on the day the football came to an end for now, the Glasgow giants will be hoping for a positive new beginning off the field after administrators accepted an offer from Charles Green's consortium for the purchase of the club.

Lee McCulloch set the ball rolling at McDiarmid Park before Aluko netted three second-half goals, with the hosts failing to find the win that would allow them to claim a Europa League spot.

Up four it: Rangers put an end to a sorry season with a fine fine over St Johnstone

Up four it: Rangers put an end to a sorry season with a fine fine over St Johnstone

MATCH FACTS

ST JOHNSTONE: Mannus, MacKay, Davidson, Wright, Anderson, Morris, Millar, Craig, Adams, Sheridan (Keatings, 69), Sandaza.
Subs not used: Enckelman, Maybury, Moon, McIntosh, Haber, Christopher Kane.

RANGERS: McGregor, Broadfoot, Wallace, Whittaker, Bartley, Perry, McCulloch, Edu, Aluko (McKay, 77), Bedoya Booked (Little, 81), McCabe (Healy 81).
Subs not used: Alexander, Christopher Hegarty, Andrew Mitchell, Crawford.

Goals: McCulloch 23, Aluko 56, 62, 73.

Referee: Madden
Attendance: 6,459

Rangers made three changes from the side which drew with Motherwell last week for the clash against St Johnstone.

Kirk Broadfoot, Ross Perry and
Alejandro Bedoya started, with Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian – who
had a knee injury anyway – given permission to return to their
respective homelands early, while Jamie Ness absent from the squad.

Saints were without the suspended
Murray Davidson but were boosted by the return of Francisco Sandaza
following a three-match ban as they aimed to secure a Europa League
spot.

St Johnstone looked the more
dangerous of the two sides early on and a Liam Craig corner found
Cillian Sheridan in the box and his header forced a save from goalkeeper
Allan McGregor.

Chris Millar's cross then skimmed the crossbar as the home side continued to push forward for the opener.

All smiles: Lee McCulloch (left) celebrates his opening goal for Rangers

All smiles: Lee McCulloch (left) celebrates his opening goal for Rangers

Battle: Kirk Broadfoot holds off St Johnstone's Francisco Sandaza

Battle: Kirk Broadfoot holds off St Johnstone's Francisco Sandaza

At the other end, Alan Mannus was
called into action to swat a McCulloch header to safety, before Bedoya
blasted over from close range.

Rangers gradually began to impose themselves on the game and opened the scoring after 23 minutes.

Maurice Edu's flick was collected by McCulloch and he unleashed a superb right-footed volley that left Mannus with no chance.

The veteran utility man then went to
ground in the area under pressure from Frazer Wright but there was no
penalty from referee Bobby Madden.

Saints had the first real chance after the restart when Wright met Craig's corner only to send his header over the crossbar.

Rangers then came close when Kyle
Bartley also threw himself in front of a flag-kick and bulleted a header
over from close range as the visitors chased a second goal.

The honours went to Aluko instead after 56 minutes when he raced on to an Edu pass and finished low beyond the grasp of Mannus.

Rangers were celebrating again after
63 minutes when Steven Whittaker fed Bedoya and he squared into the path
of Aluko to stab home his second of the day from close range.

New era: Charles Green arrives at McDiarmid Park as his consortium near a takeover of Rangers

New era: Charles Green arrives at McDiarmid Park as his consortium near a takeover of Rangers

Saints had the ball in the back of
the net when Sandaza met a Millar pass at the back post and flicked home
but the offside flag was already raised.

It was Rangers who netted again when
Aluko collected the ball 10 yards out and lashed into the back of the
net to claim his hat-trick with 72 minutes gone.

The winger was then withdrawn to
rapturous applause from the travelling support five minutes later,
allowing youngster Barrie McKay to make his competitive debut, with no
way back for Saints.

Signing off in style: Ally McCoist's men enjoyed an emphatic victory in their final game of the season

Signing off in style: Ally McCoist's men enjoyed an emphatic victory in their final game of the season

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Hearts 0 Rangers 3: Playing out the season is Little comfort for Gers

Hearts 0 Rangers 3: Playing out the season is Little comfort for Gers

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UPDATED:

15:49 GMT, 22 April 2012

Hearts failed to claim back-to-back Old Firm scalps as Rangers grabbed all three points with a 3-0 win in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The Edinburgh side headed into the match at Tynecastle boosted by last weekend's win over Celtic, which allowed them to book their place in the William Hill Scottish Cup final against city rivals Hibernian.

Double trouble: Sone Aluko (right) congratulates Andrew Little after scoring his brace

Double trouble: Sone Aluko (right) congratulates Andrew Little after scoring his brace

Match facts

HEARTS: MacDonald, McGowan, Zaliukas, Webster, Grainger, Skacel, Black, Barr (Templeton 68), Driver (Glen 68), Beattie, Elliott (Santana 46). Unused subs: Ridgers, Novikovas, Robinson, Prychynenko.

Booked: Skacel.

RANGERS: McGregor, Whittaker, Bocanegra, Goian (Kerkar 76), Wallace, Aluko (Perry 76), Edu, Bartley, McCabe, Little, McCulloch. Unused subs: Alexander, Healy, Bedoya, Hegarty, Mitchell.

Goals: Aluko 29, Little 35, 88.

Booked: Whittaker, Goian, Bartley.

Referee: Calum Murray.

A Sone Aluko goal and an Andy Little double sealed the win for administration-hit Rangers, while a penalty miss from cup hero Craig Beattie only added to Hearts' despair.

Rangers made three changes from the side which defeated St Mirren in their last outing a fortnight ago for the clash with the Jambos.

Steven Whittaker and Lee Wallace both returned from injury to start the match and Rhys McCabe was drafted into the side in place of injured skipper Steven Davis.

Hearts made one change from last week, with match-winner Beattie given the nod ahead of Scott Robinson.

Rangers could have had a penalty in the opening five minutes when Darren Barr appeared to handle a Maurice Edu header in the box but referee Calum Murray did not point to the spot.

The visitors continued to push forward and Little squared into the path of the on-rushing Lee McCulloch in front of goal but he connected awkwardly and goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald was able to gather.

Jump for joy: Aluko celebrates his goal

Head for heights: Hearts' Darren Barr (right) challenges Rangers' Steven Whittaker

Heady heights: Aluko celebrates his goal (left) as Hearts' Darren Barr (right) challenges Steven Whittaker

Kyle Bartley then saw his volley cannon off former Ibrox defender Andy Webster on the line, before McCulloch's shot flashed across goal and wide.

Rangers surged into the lead after 28 minutes when they were handed a free-kick just outside the box for a foul by Webster, which was hotly disputed by the Hearts player.

Aluko stepped up for the set-piece and sent a superb curling effort past the grasp of MacDonald to leave the net bulging.

Rangers could have doubled their lead when Whittaker supplied a cut-back for McCulloch and, with only the goalkeeper to beat, he looked on in disbelief as MacDonald just managed to tip the shot wide.

The honours went to Little instead when he collected a Wallace cross at the near post and scooped a left-footed effort past MacDonald and into the net with 35 minutes gone.

Jump to it: Marius Zaliukas challenges Rangers' Lee McCulloch

Ouch: Hearts' Andrew Driver is led off the pitch at half time

Ouch: Marius Zaliukas challenges Rangers' Lee McCulloch (left) and Andrew Driver is led off the pitch (right)

Hearts made their first change at the break when Stephen Elliott was withdrawn for the introduction of Suso in the second half.

The home side had failed to create much in the way of goal-scoring opportunities in the first half but Beattie was not too far away shortly after the re-start with a shot that fell just wide of Allan McGregor's left-hand post.

The former Celtic striker had another chance when he picked up Ian Black's pass only to blast well over the crossbar from 15 yards, failing to trouble the Rangers goalkeeper once again.

Penalty woe: Hearts' Craig Beattie fails to score from the spot

Penalty woe: Hearts' Craig Beattie fails to score from the spot

Hearts were determined to haul themselves back into the game and Rudi Skacel forced a decent save from a full-stretch McGregor with a powerful long-range drive.

The Jambos should have pulled a goal back when the referee pointed to the penalty spot for an Aluko trip on substitute David Templeton just inside the area after 75 minutes.

But Beattie, who had been the hero with the winner from the penalty spot against Celtic last weekend, saw his spot-kick crash off the crossbar on this occasion.

Frustrated: Hearts' manager Paulo Sergio

Frustrated: Hearts' manager Paulo Sergio

There was no way back for Hearts when Wallace found Little in plenty of space in front of goal and all that was required from the Northern Irishman was to slot into an empty net to put the gloss on the win with two minutes to go.