Three first-half goals at Gayfield handed Rangers their 13th successive League 1 victory.
Scorers: Rangers - Daly (3), Donaldson (og 27), Clark (41)
Bookings: Arbroath - Travis, Chisholm; Rangers - Black, Mohsni
Arbroath lasted little more than a minute and a half before Jon Daly crashed home his 17th goal of the season. And the Ibrox club pressed their case further when Red Lichties defender Bradley Donaldson put through his own net ahead of Nicky Clark’s third goal for the club just before half-time.
The victory extended Rangers’ lead at the top of the third tier to 11 points, with a game in hand against Forfar to come next Tuesday.
Although Ally McCoist’s men have now won all 13 of their league games so far this campaign, they have not exactly set the heather alight of late. But Rangers were quick out of the blocks as Daly’s volley ended a seven-game wait for a half-time lead.
It was the seventh match in a row in which the former Dundee United striker has netted, and McCoist said afterwards: “It’s an amazing achievement. It doesn’t matter the league or the opposition, because that record is fantastic. We are playing sides who make it very, very difficult for you.
“Arbroath got a draw at Celtic Park [in the Scottish Cup last season] and only lost the replay 1-0.
“I don’t think I had a scoring run like John Daly’s. I did get one or two more than him, right enough, but I can’t remember scoring in seven straight games.”
If Arbroath had aimed to keep it tight in the early period in the hope of frustrating the visitors, their ploy lasted just
100 seconds before Daly struck the opener. Home defender David Banjo body-checked man-of-the-match Lee Wallace as the full-back raided forward and, from Ian Black’s free-kick, the Irish striker got himself across the front post to volley home.
Their swift opening was all the Ibrox men needed to settle themselves down and they soon took control in midfield. Rangers continued to work the ball about Arbroath’s box with menace and Donaldson was fortunate he did not put through his own goal as he got his head to Lewis Macleod’s cross midway through the half. A minute later, however, the defender’s luck ran out. Bilel Mohsni found his young colleague Macleod with a back-heel and, as the Scotland Under-21 international drove the ball towards goal, it took a decisive deflection off Donaldson to wrong-foot goalkeeper Scott Morrison and find the net.
Donaldson then clattered into Daly four minutes before the break and, once more, it proved costly as, from the resulting set-piece, Wallace picked out Clark at the back post and the striker glanced home the third.
Rangers started the second half in the same dominant fashion that they showed in the first period but failed to add to their tally as first Daly could only find the base of the post from Black’s cross and then Nicky Law blazed over after powering through the middle.
Daly was off-target again on 64 minutes when Black’s shot was deflected into his path, while Chris Scott spurned Arbroath’s best chance moments later when he hit the woodwork following Lee Erwin’s clever turn in the build-up.
Arbroath: Morrison, Banjo, Travis, Donaldson, Hamilton, Linn, Scott (Bayne 67), Chisholm, Sheerin (Smith 68), Erwin (Milne 76), Cook. Subs not used: Wilson, Yao, Sibanda, Keddie.
Rangers: Bell, Faure, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace, Aird (Hutton 66), Black (Crawford 66), Law, Macleod, Daly, Clark. Subs not used: Peralta, Simonsen, Emilson Cribari, Templeton, Smith.