IT’S safe to say Rangers have finally got the hang of this Third Division malarkey.
Scorers: Clyde: Watt (47); Rangers: Little (9) (24), Templeton (44) (54)
Way back at the end of October, Ally McCoist’s much-criticised outfit finally managed to achieve their first away win of the season at Clyde after a series of desperately poor performances on the road. Yesterday, they wiped the floor with Jim Duffy’s outfit in a one-sided encounter to record their eighth successive victory on their travels.
Last week Rangers produced probably their best display of the season to dismantle nearest challengers Queen’s Park. They followed that up in Cumbernauld with a comprehensive thumping of one of the grand old names of Scottish football. Put quite simply, the Bully Wee were bullied by a Rangers side who could and should have won by more.
They did it in style too, with two of the finest goals you will see at any level, never mind the Third Division, from David Templeton. He added them to another brace from Andrew Little, who netted his 20th goal of the season after his double against the Hampden amateurs last week.
It was no wonder manager Ally McCoist was more than satisfied with his side’s afternoon’s work and Templeton’s goals. He said: “Templeton’s two strikes were absolutely fantastic and would have graced any level. We need to keep winning, but the fans deserve a level of performance that allows them to sit back and enjoy their football.
“Andy Little is the man in the possession of the jersey with four goals in the last couple of games and he’s the kind of player who will make something happen on the park wherever he is. He is very powerful, strong and robust and he will score if you get him in the right position.
“He has played everywhere, but he is happier through the middle and you can see that. His link-up play was good and we have been talking to him about that. He has to lead the line, make himself a wall sometimes and run behind sometimes, but his general play is improving.”
Rangers took just nine minutes to start where they had left off last week. Little started the move by giving the ball to Dean Shiels and bombing forward. The ex-Kilmarnock man was getting chased and harassed by a posse of Clyde defenders and yet still managed to shrug them off and play a perfect pass back to Little. The Northern Irish striker steadied himself before squeezing the ball past Jamie Barclay in off the post to get Rangers off to a terrific start.
It came as no surprise when Rangers increased their advantage in the 24th minute. Kyle Hutton played the ball to Little, who had his back to goal. He managed to squirm past defender Iain Gray and smashed the ball into the roof of the net for his 20th goal of the season.
Templeton put a fair reflection on Rangers’ first-half dominance when he cracked in that quite stunning goal a minute before the interval. The former Hearts ace collected the ball just inside the Clyde half, strode forward unmarked, before unleashing a spectacular 30-yard drive which soared into the top corner of the net. It was a special strike.
In fairness to Clyde, they at least came out fighting in the second half after such an abject first-half display and they gathered a goal back three minutes after the break when Kevin Watt poked in Stuart McColm’s dangerous cross from the left.
But normal service was soon resumed when Templeton struck with another quality goal in the 55th minute. He collected a Chris Hegarty header at the far post, but his route to goal was still blocked by a wall of Clyde defenders. That was no object to the winger though and with a drop of the shoulder and a quick step-over, he manoeuvred himself into position for a shot at goal and his left foot shot went in off the post for his 11th goal of the season for Rangers.
Afterwards, Templeton revealed he just loves facing Clyde. He said: “That’s three goals against Clyde and they have been my best ones. I haven’t scored many doubles in my career and that is definitely the best one I have scored.
“When I picked the ball up for the first one, I was initially going to give it to Lee Wallace, but their right-back went with him and space opened up inside. I was looking for more goals this season and I am happy with my strike rate so far.”
Clyde boss Duffy could have few complaints and admitted: “The first goal from Templeton was an extraordinary strike and even the second one was fantastic. We did do better in the second half, but obviously the game was done by then.
“You have got to be realistic. Rangers are miles ahead of us in every department, from their playing staff to every other resource. They are a giant club. They are in the Third Division by default, not because of ability. We worked hard, but we lacked composure and perhaps the occasion was too much for one or two of them. But credit to Rangers.”
Clyde: Barclay; Kane, Lyden, Gray, Brown (Sharp 69); McCluskey, Fitzpatrick (Scullion 73), MacBeth (Mcgachie 51), Sweeney, McColm; Watt. Subs not used: Fitzharris, Rajovic.
Rangers: Alexander; Argyriou, Cribari, Hegarty, Wallace; McKay, Black (Crawford 66), Hutton, Templeton (Aird 80); Shiels (Mitchell 85), Little. Subs not used: Gallacher, Faure.
Referee: K Clancy. Attendance: 6,500.