STRIKER Jon Daly expects to break his own goalscoring record in his debut campaign with Rangers after bringing his tally to 18 for the season so far.
The Irishman opened the scoring on Saturday as Rangers eased to a 3-0 win over Ayr United in Scottish League One, with Fraser Aird and Bilel Mohsni also on the scoresheet.
Daly’s personal best is 22 goals while at Dundee United and he knows that record is well within his grasp with Rangers as both player and club continue their fine form in Scottish football’s third tier.
He said: “I always set myself goal targets every season. My first is ten and then it goes up in fives. My next target is 20, then it’ll be 25 and so on.
“I got a great ball in from Ian Black and I’ve had that kind of service all season.
“My best goals tally was 22 goals and that was two years ago at Dundee United. So that’s within my reach now. I know I’ll get chances here and I have to make sure I stick them away.”
However, Daly concedes that his record could have been even more within reach had he tucked away another couple of decent chances against Ayr.
He added: “I could have got one or two more. I had some chances, but thankfully it didn’t cost us. It wasn’t our best performance, but we still managed to win by three goals.”
The victory allowed Rangers to extend their winning streak to 20 games in a row, while maintaining a 100 per cent league record so far this season.
Daly said: “We want to see how far we can go. The expectation level builds with every victory, but the boys are dealing with that well at the moment.
“If you start looking too far down the line, you can trip yourself up. It’s a fantastic run because, at any level in football, it’s a difficult thing to do.”
The Ibrox side were rarely in danger in this one-sided match at Ibrox, despite being forced into a change in their midfield. Last weekend’s Scottish Cup hero Nicky Law had a groin strain, so Honduran midfielder Arnold Peralta came into the hosts’ engine room.
The first chance fell to that man Daly when Peralta found him with a neat cutback, but the Irishman failed to connect properly with the ball and he sent it high over the crossbar.
Ayr failed to heed that early warning and Daly didn’t waste the next chance that came his way to put the league leaders ahead. The goal, however, was more down to Black’s assist than Daly’s finish, the former Hearts midfielder’s sumptuous delivery from a free kick meaning all Daly needed to do was glance the ball beyond Ayr goalkeeper David Hutton from the six-yard line.
Rangers kept peppering the visitors’ goal and although Lee McCulloch headed wide soon after Daly’s opener, the second goal wasn’t too far away and on 23 minutes, Aird drove past the Ayr defence and fired home a tidy finish to double the Gers’ advantage.
The Honest Men were a little more adventurous after half-time and made enough headway to force a couple of corners, but they failed to test Cammy Bell in the Rangers goal and soon after normal service was resumed.
Lewis Macleod and McCulloch both served notice of their intent with efforts that went close before Rangers put the seal on a straightforward day’s work as Mohsni forced the ball over the line after McCulloch had seen his effort repelled by Hutton.
In fact, the most meaningful action that concerned Rangers was a pre-planned “Sons of Struth” protest against the current board by holding aloft red cards on the 18th and 72nd minutes.
Despite Rangers’ current form, Ayr boss Mark Roberts does not believe the Glasgow giants will go through the entire season without dropping a point.
He said: “I can’t see Rangers winning all 36 games. Someone will beat them.
“They will have a dip at one point and hopefully it will be us who beats them.”