DAVID Templeton stole the show as Rangers secured a comfortable win over Clyde in the Irn-Bru Third Division.
Rangers - Wallace (21), Templeton (38), Shiels (76)
Referee: C Allan
The winger set up Lee Wallace for the opener before grabbing a lovely goal of his own.
Substitute Dean Shiels then put the gloss on the Glasgow giants’ ninth win in a row, as they moved 12 points clear at the top of the table.
Rangers made one change from the side who defeated Elgin City at the weekend, with Ross Perry drafted into the starting line-up and Anestis Argyriou missing out with a knock.
Clyde tried their luck early on when Kevin Watt surged into the box from the left before unleashing a shot that went well over the crossbar and did little to trouble Neil Alexander.
At the other end, Bully Wee goalkeeper Jamie Barclay was called into action to make a decent save from a thunderous Lee McCulloch strike.
Wallace then slotted into the path of Lewis Macleod, who cut across the face of goal for Andy Little but he connected awkwardly and the chance was lost.
Rangers continued to press for the opener and a McCulloch cut-back found Templeton but his powerful strike from distance was straight at Barclay and easily smothered.
However, the Clyde goalkeeper was unable to prevent the home side from opening the scoring with 21 minutes gone.
Wallace raced on to a Templeton pass before bearing down on goal and slotting between the legs of Barclay and into the back of the net.
However, Rangers manager Ally McCoist was forced to make a change seven minutes later when Little hobbled out of the action and was replaced by Shiels, who had missed the previous two games through injury.
Rangers went in search of a second goal and a sequence of neat passes ended with Kyle Hutton’s 25-yard effort fizzing inches past the upright.
Hutton had to settle for being the provider instead as the Light Blues doubled their lead in style after 38 minutes. Templeton collected from the midfielder and demonstrated excellent control to skip past his marker before curling past the grasp of Barclay with a superb finish.
McCulloch had the net bulging two minutes later after dinking the ball over the keeper but he was denied a goal of his own by the offside flag.
Rangers continued to dominate after the restart and Barrie McKay set up Hutton for a shot which squeezed past several bodies in the box before Barclay gathered.
McKay then teed up a shot for Templeton but he failed to add to his tally with a strike that cannoned off the body of Gavin Brown and out for a corner.
Hopes of a Clyde comeback were shattered when Rangers claimed their third of the day after 76 minutes.
McKay delivered the pass to the feet of Shiels, who turned and dispatched a low drive into the far bottom corner to secure the points.
Afterwards, McCoist paid tribute to Templeton, saying: “He’s one of those players who will make something happen.
“He will give the ball away as well, which you have to accept with players with great talent. They will try things that won’t always come off but, when they do, they’re certainly worth waiting for.
“I thought his pass to Wallace for the first goal was exceptional but the second goal, you will struggle to see a better goal all day.
“It was a magic goal. It just came back onto his right foot and he slewed it into the top corner. It was a wonderful finish.”
McCoist added: “I definitely think we can play better, and we will play better, but you’ve got to be happy with a 3-0 victory at home.
“We can do more in forward areas but I thought we looked strong defensively again.
“We were pretty solid, with Ross Perry and Chris Hegarty coming in and doing well. It’s been a good day’s work.”
The emphatic win over Clyde was Rangers’ ninth victory in a row as they put further distance between themselves and the rest of the teams in the Third Division.
And, asked if the Light Blues were now threatening to run away with the league, McCoist said: “I certainly hope that’s the case, I really do. But we will continue to do what we’ve been doing and that’s treat everybody with respect. We will look to win games on merit.
“Looking back, I still think a big turning point in terms of our season was winning our first away game against Clyde. It got us a little bit of confidence away from home. “The home performances and results have certainly been good but I’ve been equally as happy in recent weeks with the results away from home. I hope we do run away with it but we have to earn it. There’s a long, long way to go.”
Rangers face Queen’s Park at Hampden this weekend in their final fixture of 2012, with Little doubtful after he limped out of yesterday game with a hamstring problem.
McCoist said: “We’ve got another tough game coming up against one of the better sides in the league who, if they win a couple of games in hand, could go into second place.
“But it’s at a place that I would hope would suit us.”
Clyde manager Jim Duffy said: “The second goal was just complete class from David
Templeton. I was at Elgin last week too and he’s just got an extra level in him.
“You can see that he’s playing well within himself at this level.
“Rangers will fire through the league now and all credit to them. It took them a bit of time to adjust but they are fully adjusted now.”
Rangers: Alexander, Hegarty, Perry ,Emilson Cribari (Cole 78), Wallace, Little (Shiels 26), Hutton, Macleod, McKay, Templeton (Crawford 83), McCulloch. Subs not used: Currie, Sandaza.
Clyde: Barclay ,John Kane, Gray, Lanie, Brown, Fitzharris (Sweeney 71), Hay (Neill 81), Scullion, McColm, Gilfillan (McCluskey 88), Watt. Subs not used: Rajovic, Oliver.