RANGERS are on course to clinch the Third Division title by the middle of next month as David Templeton hailed his double against Clyde as the best of his career after stealing the show at Broadwood on Saturday.
Scorers: Clyde - Watt (47); Rangers - Little (8, 24), Templeton (44, 54)
Referee: K Clancy
The winger contributed with two superb goals as Rangers claimed a convincing 4-1 win to maintain their 22-point advantage at the summit of the Irn-Bru Third Division.
Templeton now has four doubles since joining Rangers from Hearts in August, including two goals on his debut, but he believes his latest efforts top the lot.
He said: “That’s definitely the best double I’ve scored.
“I’ve not had many doubles in my career but that has to rank up there as my best one.
“It’s good to score nice goals but its more important to get the win.”
Templeton’s previous best goal tally for a season was back in 2005-06 at Stenhousemuir when he netted eight times and he has already crashed through that barrier this term.
He added: “I was looking to score more goals this season and I’ve got 11 at Rangers now and 13 all together.
“It’s the most I’ve scored in a season and I’m delighted.”
Despite earning the plaudits against Clyde, Templeton admits he was not having the best of days until his 30-yard strike hit the back of the net a minute before the break.
He said: “In the first half I wasn’t playing well at all. I kept giving the ball away too easily.
“I ended up trying to do the simple things and even that wasn’t coming off for me.
“The goal gave me a boost and, in the second half, I managed to come out and do a lot better.”
Andy Little also scored twice, and the Northern Irishman needed just eight minutes to find the back of the net against Clyde.
The Northern Irish striker played the ball out to Dean Shiels on the right before bursting into the box to collect the return pass and all that was required was a simple finish past goalkeeper Jamie Barclay.
The visitors were threatening again when Templeton swung a teasing corner into the goalmouth and Ian Black, who opened his goal-scoring account for the club last week, nodded just over.
Instead, Little grabbed his second of the day with 25 minutes on the clock. This time he raced onto a Kyle Hutton pass, before turning marker Iain Gray and lashing his shot high into the net.
The home side found themselves trailing further a minute before the break when Templeton tried his luck with a superb 30-yard strike that cracked off the inside of the post and over the line.
The Bully Wee threw themselves a lifeline three minutes after the restart when Stuart McColm whipped into the path of Kevin Watt and he stabbed home at the front post.
But Templeton struck again ten minutes into the second-half with another impressive goal – and his 11th of the season for Rangers.
The winger demonstrated some lovely movement as he surged into the box from the left before dispatching into the far corner from a tight angle.
Little has relished the opportunity to lead the line recently and also bagged a double against Queen’s Park last week.
Templeton believes wresting the jersey from him will be a hard task when others return from injury.
He said: “If you’re playing up front and scoring goals, there is no reason to change it. I’m sure that every time Andy gets chances, he will score. He’s a good finisher and you could see that with his second goal. It was a great turn and finish.”
Templeton was also on target in a 3-0 win over Clyde at Ibrox earlier in the season.
And Bully Wee manager Jim Duffy said: “Templeton seems to save his great goals for us. They were two phenomenal goals he scored to be fair.
“They are two magnificent strikes but in the context of the game Rangers played well and, from our point of view, it was really just about hanging in there.
The Ibrox side are romping clear at the top of the league and are 22 points ahead. They officially need seven more wins to make it mathematically impossible for second placed Queen’s Park to catch them.
That would be achieved away to Montrose in a Links Park clash on 30 March, assuming their Glasgow rivals keep winning.
However, it seems probable the Hampden amateurs will drop points before then. And Ally McCoist’s men look more likely to officially wrap up the title flag for Scotland’s fourth tier in one of their games before their trip to Angus. Rangers have 12 games left in the league and with Queen’s Park having two games in hand, they could reduce the gap to 16 points if they win them both. But if Queen’s drop points, Rangers will be looking to raise the flag at Ibrox against Stirling Albion on 23 March or even away to Elgin City the previous week.