RAMPANT Rangers moved six points clear at the top of the Ladbrokes Championship after a 4-1 stroll against Livingston at Ibrox.
With title rivals Falkirk and Hibernian not facing off until Sunday afternoon, Gers took the opportunity to extend their lead with a crushing first-half display.
Martyn Waghorn - Britain’s top scorer - extended his tally for the season to 27 goals with a double, with Danny Wilson and Kenny Miller also scoring during a ruthless opening-half performance.
There was not the same spark from Mark Warburton’s team after the break and they allowed Liam Buchanan to restore some pride for second-bottom Livi when he struck after 55 minutes.
The last time the teams met in mid-November Gers were in the midst of their worst run of the season, with the 1-1 draw at the Tony Macaroni Arena contributing to the 10 points they spilled in the space of six games.
But this time they squared up to David Hopkins’ men in much better shape having struck 15 times in their three previous matches.
And there was no danger of another slip-up as the Ibrox men set siege to the Livi goal.
It took just eight minutes for Rangers to find the opener as Wilson headed into an empty net after Lions keeper Marc McCallum failed to handle Waghorn’s shot.
The Englishman remained on a high after becoming the first man in the UK to hit 25 goals this season with his treble against Cowdenbeath last week.
And that confidence was evident as he forced McCallum to back-pedal with an ambitious 45-yard attempt.
His goal did come after 21 minutes when Miller was tugged down in the box by Declan Gallacher as he raced onto Lee Wallace’s pass, with the frontman tucking away his 10th spot-kick of the campaign.
Gers were disappointed though when their appeals for a second penalty were turned down by referee Craig Thomson after a blatant Ben Gordon handball.
But they pushed on and scored again after 35 minutes. Barry McKay and Jason Holt worked a short corner before releasing Wallace into the box. The left-back then cut back for Miller, who calmly took a touch before stroking home into the far corner.
Waghorn then somehow hit the post from a yard out but did not dwell on his mistake, clipping the ball over McCallum for the fourth three minutes from half-time after a deflected Wallace effort broke into his path.
Rangers let their tempo drop at the start of the second half and were punished when Livi substitute Buchanan found the corner of the net with a low drive.
Waghorn - denied a second hat-trick in as many games when Miller got in the way of his net-bound volley - was forced to settle for two as he was replaced by Nicky Clark after 68 minutes.
The substitute had the ball in the net in stoppage time but Thomson had already blown for a penalty after spotting another Gallacher foul on Miller. However, Andy Halliday was left disappointed as McCallum pushed his spot-kick over.