Andy Little’s big boost for Rangers

Rangers forward Andy Little admits he was relieved to claim his first goal of the season, even if there was some debate over who should be credited with the strike.

Rangers striker Jon Daly, left, outjumps Stranraers Scott Robertson at Stair Park. Picture: PA
Rangers striker Jon Daly, left, outjumps Stranraers Scott Robertson at Stair Park. Picture: PA

Stranraer 0-3 Rangers

Scorers: Rangers - Little (7), Macleod (23), McCulloch (30)

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The opener in the 3-0 Scottish League One win at Stranraer on Saturday came courtesy of an Ian Black effort, which was deflected into the net by Little after just five minutes. The Northern Irishman netted 25 goals in all competitions last term and was awarded the Sam English Bowl for being the club’s top scorer with 22 of those goals coming in the league. But, by his own admission, he has struggled in front of goal so far this season and was pleased simply to open his account for the campaign despite the lack of finesse.

Little said: “I think Blackie was happy enough to give it to me because he’s had a couple already and he knows I’ve been struggling this season. The referee has given it to me too, so I’m delighted. I hoped my first goal would have been a bit better than that but I’m just happy for anything to get me off the mark.

“I didn’t know a lot about it. Blackie’s hit it well and I just got something on it but I needed that. I needed something to go my way and to get that little bit of luck, so I’m happy.

“It would have been nice to have a couple more by now but I’m not going to get too worked up about it. I know that I’m doing a job for the team out wide, setting up others, and I know my game is about working hard, putting myself about and trying to cause havoc.”

A transfer embargo means Rangers must wait until 1 September to register their new players. And, with eight new recruits waiting in the wings for their chance next month, Little concedes he may have been trying too hard to impress in the meantime.

He said: “It’s fairly obvious that I haven’t been happy with how I’ve done in the first couple of games but maybe I’m guilty of putting myself under a bit too much pressure. We’ve got eight boys coming in looking to put every one of us out of the team come September and maybe I’ve been trying too hard.

“But in this game, and in the last couple of games, I’ve just tried to run about and work hard and thankfully something like this happens.

“Added to a wee assist for the second, hopefully this will give me a bit of confidence.”

Goals by Lewis Macleod and skipper Lee McCulloch helped to wrap up the points at Stair Park in a far more convincing performance and result on the road, compared with last year when Rangers initially struggled to adapt to their new surroundings in the lower leagues.

Little said: “In the first half, we were just a different team compared to the way we were playing this time last season. We have certainly learned from it, we are a bit more streetwise.

“We know that we have to start at a high tempo because every single team that we play will do that and we have to match it. We were disappointed in the second half that we didn’t keep it going but it’s always difficult to maintain the tempo we showed in the first half.”

Stranraer manager Stephen Aitken said: “I can’t fault the players for effort. I thought they gave a good account of themselves. We can concentrate on the rest of the season now.”