East Stirling 2 Rangers 6: second-half landslide

Rangers produced a clinical second-half display to defeat East Stirling 6-2 at Ochilview.

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Rangers produced a clinical second-half display to defeat East Stirling 6-2 at Ochilview.

The Ibrox side netted four times after the break to extend their lead at the top of Irn-Bru Division Three to five points.

Lee McCulloch opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 12 minutes and East Stirling were dealt a further blow when Phillipp Zufle was ordered off for a poorly-timed challenge on Kevin Kyle.

Andrew Little doubled Rangers' lead after 39 minutes, however the hosts replied just one minute later as Kevin Turner headed home Nathan Shepherd's corner.

But Lee Wallace re-established a two-goal advantage for Ally McCoist's side four minutes after the break before their lead was cut for the second time when Paul Quinn slotted home from the penalty spot.

Rangers were rewarded for their dominance throughout much of the second half when Kevin Kyle and Kai Naismith both netted to put the game well out of the reach of their opponents and McCulloch added a sixth goal eight minutes from time.

The visitors enjoyed the majority of the early possession and Kyle passed up a good chance to open the scoring after eight minutes when he failed to hit the target after a neat passing exchange between Ian Black and Wallace.

The large Rangers support did not have to wait much longer to see their side break the deadlock, though, as referee George Salmond pointed to the spot after Sean Kelly hacked down Dean Shiels.

McCulloch stepped up and calmly slotted the resulting penalty low beyond Hay.

Barrie McKay went close to doubling the visitors' lead when he raced on to Lewis McLeod's through ball and chipped the ball over the onrushing Hay, fortunately for East Stirling, though, the ball rolled past the right-hand post.

The hosts responded in a positive fashion, forcing a number of corners that troubled the Rangers defence.

Scott Maxwell tried to catch out Neil Alexander with a shot from outside the box, however the keeper comfortably gathered.

The task facing East Stirling was made even greater when Zufle was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Kyle.

Hay produced a good low stop to deny Black as Rangers tried to take advantage of their one-man advantage and they extended their lead six minutes before half-time when Little's volley looped over the keeper and into the net.

But Turner connected with Nathan Shepherd's pinpoint cross one minute later to restore some hope for the hosts going into the break.

Rangers began the second half brightly and re-established a two goal lead four minutes after the restart when Wallace burst forward and drove a low shot past the helpless Hay.

The home side were presented with the perfect opportunity to reduce the deficit after 58 minutes when McCulloch bundled over Shepherd inside the box and Quinn made no mistake in dispatching the penalty.

Black came agonisingly close to scoring his first goal for Rangers on the hour mark as his shot cannoned back off the inside of the post.

Kyle then opened his account for the Ibrox club when he swept the ball home from close range after Andy Little's mis-hit shot.

Naismith replaced Shiels after 68 minutes and the 20-year-old wasted little time in getting on the scoresheet, slotting home McKay's cut-back from the edge of the box.

McCulloch converted from the spot for the second time with eight minutes remaining after Steven Jackson handled inside the box - his 19th goal of the season.

Substitute Fraser Aird flashed a shot wide of the target in the closing minutes, but Rangers were unable to extend their lead further.

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