SCORERS: Rangers - Clark 6, 27, 44, 66, Wallace 37, McCulloch 71 (pen); Forfar - Swankie 25
Forfar may be the only side to defeat the Light Blues so far this season after coming out on top in a League Cup tie at Station Park in August. But this clash at Ibrox proved to be a very different experience for the Loons, with Ally McCoist’s men in
formidable and ruthless form.
Nicky Clark was the star of the show in the Scottish League One clash after helping himself to four goals as the home side ran riot against their previous conquerors. Lee Wallace and skipper Lee McCulloch also contributed to the goals haul, with Gavin Swankie’s earlier equaliser for the visitors proving to be nothing more than scant consolation in the end.
As well as setting a new record, the win allowed Rangers to maintain their 100 per cent record in the league this season.
Like the cup ties at the weekend, a minute’s silence was observed at Ibrox ahead of this game in respect of those affected by Friday’s helicopter crash in Glasgow. Once the match was under way, Rangers required just five minutes on the clock to open the scoring, having left it late against the Bairns in their last outing. Wallace was the architect with a superb cross that picked out Clark for a powerful header that left goalkeeper Darren Hill with no chance.
Rangers kept up the early pressure and Hill was forced to be alert again, blocking an angled drive from Fraser Aird at the near post.
Fans group, Sons of Struth, had staged a protest against members of the current board outside the stadium before the game and some supporters continued to voice their unhappiness at those running the club in the first half.
On the pitch, Forfar were forced to make a change when Dale Hilson limped out of the action after 21 minutes and was replaced by Paul McManus.
The Loons were back on level terms four minutes later when Swankie unleashed an unstoppable shot from distance into the top corner, with Cammy Bell stationary in the Rangers goal. But the home side were back in front just a minute later when Clark grabbed his second of the night with a strike that took a deflection off Darren Dods and into the back of the net.
Wallace took his place among the scorers after 37 minutes when he cut inside from the left and dispatched a low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
With half-time approaching, only a brilliant save by Hill prevented Clark from claiming his hat-trick, as the Forfar ’keeper clawed the close-range header to safety. But the striker had his treble two minutes before the break when Ian Black’s 35-yard strike smacked off the crossbar and fell for Clark to rifle beyond Hill. Defender Bilel Mohsni contributed to Rangers’ fifth – and Clark’s fourth – of the night when he nodded Aird’s corner into the goalmouth where the forward was waiting to tap home from a couple of yards.
The goals kept coming for the home side when substitute David Templeton was felled in the box and McCulloch atoned for his penalty miss against Falkirk.
Dean Shiels then made his first appearance since August, after recovering from a long-term knee problem, when he replaced Jon Daly.
Rangers: Bell, Faure, Mohsni, McCulloch (Emilson Cribari 78), Wallace, Black, Aird, Law (Templeton 64), Macleod, Clark, Daly (Shiels 75). Subs not used: Peralta, Simonsen, Crawford, Steven Smith.
Forfar: Hill, Baxter, Andrews (Dale 46), Dods, Iain Campbell, Ross Campbell,
Faero, Storie, Swankie, Hilson (McManus 22), Templeman (Fusco 46). Subs not used: Douglas, Kader, Malin, Fotheringham.
Referee: C Allan