TEN out of ten for Rangers and, apart from bit of huffing and puffing in the first half, this was just about as perfunctory as any of the victories that they have notched up in clockwork fashion since the start of their League One campaign.
Scorers: Rangers: Thom 49 og; Daly 52, 56, 66
A Jon Daly hat trick, his second of the campaign, dismissed East Fife’s spirited challenge after the break and continued to propel Ally McCoist’s side onwards to all sorts of likely records for points, wins and goals scored come the season end.
It just wouldn’t be Rangers, however, without some aspect of their off-the-field soap opera continuing to arrest the attention, with the arrival on these shores of former director Dave King for talks with the current boardroom factions spawning the latest string of headlines.
Yesterday, the South African-based businessman sat in the stand and at full-time he was being mobbed by about as many autograph hunters as any of the current Ibrox players.
Even McCoist was drawn to comment. “I’m glad we had a win today for him,” said the Rangers manager. “It’s been a while since he’s been at a Rangers game.”
Asked if he had had any meetings with King he added: “I’ve only just spoken to him after the game there. But I’m aware there’s lots of meetings going on.
“All we can do though is keep winning on the pitch.
“I didn’t think we were aggressive enough in the first half today and it was tough going. We changed it a bit at half-time – the first goal gave us confidence and possibly knocked the stuffing out of East Fife.”
After crossing paths with Dunfermline in the league for about the first time in a couple of decades in their last fixture, the trip down memory lane for East Fife continued yesterday with the Ibrox club visiting Methil on league business for the first time since gargantuan sideburns, flares and kipper ties were all the rage.
As has become the norm when the Rangers bandwagon rolls into town, East Fife had pulled out the stops and glammed the place up – in this case more than doubling the stadium capacity above its normal 2,000 limit with temporary terracing on three sides of the ground.
In all honesty it still didn’t add up to a raucous atmosphere as the visiting fans waited patiently for their side to make the expected breakthrough and then simply enjoyed the goal rush when it did arrive after the break.
The opening 45 minutes were perhaps uncomfortably reminiscent of some of the more unpalatable displays Rangers served up last season – lots of possession, but falling short of the urgency and incisiveness required to prise apart the massed defence of determined opponents.
Nicky Clark headed straight at East Fife goalkeeper Greg Paterson when he really should have scored from an Arnold Peralta cross.
Later on Daly had the ball in the net but collided with Paterson in the act of doing so and the goal was ruled out for the infringement.
But it was merely a stay of execution for the home side, who were to be the catalysts for their own downfall when Gary Thom diverted a Lee Wallace cross past Paterson when attempting to make a clearance.
From then on it was the Daly show – three simple goals, two from headers the other a side foot for one of the most no-nonsense hat tricks you could ever witness.
Game well and truly wrapped up and McCoist could afford the luxury of withdrawing the prolific Irishman with nearly quarter of an hour to go.
East Fife: Paterson; Dutot, Thom, Mbu, Naysmith; Stewart (77), Hughes (57), Johnstone, Brown, McBride; Buchanan. Subs used: Tuta (57), Trialist (77).
Rangers: Bell; Foster, McCulloch, Moshni, Wallace(77); Peralta, Black(69), Law, MacLeod; Daly(77), Clark. Subs used: Hutton (69), Little (77), Smith (77).
Referee: S Finnie. Attendance: 4,700.