RANGERS continued to gather much-needed momentum after their unconvincing start to the Championship season when they cruised to victory against a Dumbarton side who remain pointless and rock bottom of the table.
Rangers - 4
McCulloch 15, McGregor 30, Clark 54, Turner og 76
Dumbarton - 1
Mohsni og 81
From the moment Lee McCulloch gave the Ibrox men the lead, the outcome of this contest was never in doubt. In the end, the 4-1 scoreline did not fully tell the tale of their dominance as they moved into third place in the table, still three points behind their opening day conquerors and leaders Hearts.
McCulloch’s opener made him the answer to a quiz question which he and his club’s supporters would have wished could never have been asked – who was the first player to score for Rangers in all four divisions of Scottish football?
The captain has been a regular marksman during his team’s projected climb back towards the top flight, with 17 goals each in their fourth and third tier seasons, and his first in the Championship came after 15 minutes of steadily increasing pressure by Rangers.
Dumbarton, who had provided an early scare for the hosts when Colin Nish volleyed Archie Campbell’s cross straight at Steve Simonsen, were caught out by Lewis Macleod’s corner from the right. It picked out McCulloch’s run towards the near post where he drove home a powerful right foot shot from around eight yards.
It already had the look of a long afternoon for Ian Murray’s team. They were fortunate not to concede again just two minutes later, Macleod showing neat skill to cut in from the left and deliver a right foot shot from 20 yards which struck the base of Danny Rogers’ right hand post.
Rangers struck the frame of the goal again in the 21st minute, this time Nicky Clark latching onto Boyd’s flick and hammering a right foot shot against Rogers’ left-hand upright from ten yards.
The lead was finally doubled nine minutes later. The visitors’ defence was stretched by a swift move in and around their penalty area, David Templeton and McCulloch combining smartly to set up the chance for Darren McGregor whose surge forward from right-back ended with a fierce shot beyond Rogers to claim his first goal for Rangers.
The pace slackened towards half-time and there was a reminder for Rangers that their job was not yet done when Simonsen had to show good reactions to get down and keep out another Nish effort.
Ally McCoist’s men sought to step it up again after the restart and Nicky Law was denied a spectacular solo goal when, after cleverly flicking the ball over two opponents, his right-foot half-volley was brilliantly touched wide by Rogers.
There was a let-off at the other end for the unfathomably reckless Bilel Mohsni whose calculated trip at the edge of the penalty area on Scott Agnew as the Dumbarton substitute burst clear could easily have been interpreted as denying a goal-scoring opportunity.
Referee Brian Colvin decided it was only worthy of a yellow card and when Dumbarton failed to make anything of the free-kick, Mohsni was involved in the counter-attack which saw Rangers make it 3-0. Templeton and Boyd completed the sweeping move, teeing up Clark for a simple right-footed finish from around 12 yards.
Rangers needed no further assistance to secure all three points, but Dumbarton midfielder Chris Turner provided it for them nonetheless with a remarkable own goal in the 76th minute. When he mis-directed his headed attempt to clear a Dean Shiels corner, Turner followed it up by lashing the ball into the roof of his own net from close range.
Anything Turner could do, the hapless Mohsni felt compelled to match at the other end five minutes later as he denied Simonsen a clean sheet when he needlessly headed a Campbell cross beyond his own keeper.
Rangers: Simonsen, McGregor, Zaliukas, Mohsni, Wallace; Templeton (Shiels 74), Law (Black 79), McCulloch, Macleod (Peralta 74); Clark, Boyd. Subs not used: Kelly, Smith, Faure, Crawford.
Dumbarton : Rogers, Van Zanten, Graham, Mair (Agnew 46), Linton; Taggart; Gilhaney, Turner (Murray 81), Kirkpatrick (Megginson 73), Campbell; Nish. Subs not used: Ewings, Fleming, Prunty, McDougall.
Referee: B Colvin. Attendance: 31,175.