Albion Rovers 0 v 4 Rangers: Match Report
After what has seemed like an age, the shadow boxing of pre-season is over, the serious business has started and the Rangers predictably had far too much for Albion Rovers to coast through to the second round of the Ramsdens Cup.
The 4-0 victory didn't flatter. Indeed, Rovers may well consider themselves fortunate to have got off so lightly.
Remembering how we made such heavy weather of seeing off Brechin City at the same stage of last season, it was good to see the Gers hit the ground running. Then again, we had no pre-season build-up whatsover a year ago, while this time around we had six friendlies under our belt before the trip to Almondvale, so perhaps we should have expected nothing less than the confident, competent performance we got.
Rangers made light of a pre-match hiccup which forced Kyle McAusland into action ahead of original selection Emilson Cribari. The gap in class between the teams was evident from the first whistle and, while it took longer than it should've done for us to make the breakthrough, once we got our noses in front after 25 minutes it was just a matter of how many goals we would score.
The quality of the goals was a joy to behold. Lewis Macleod's quick break forward and Lee Wallace's superb low cross landed the ball on a plate for Nicky Law and he buried it in some style. And Nicky struck again two minutes before half-time when, taking a short corner from Wallace, he lined up the angle perfectly and curled a great shot into the corner of the net.
Add a Law free-kick which struck the wall, a couple of efforts from Andy Little and a Lee McCulloch header and clearly our advantage could have been greater than 2-0 at the interval.
Scott Gallacher was a mere spectator throughout. Fully 69 minutes had elapsed before he was asked to get his knees dirty, competently smothering a dangerous cross into the box and, within a minute, Jon Daly had sent Ian Black streaking clean through to rattle in goal number three.
Gallacher again showed that he was on his toes by saving from McGuigan, then Rangers moved upfield and substitute David Templeton blasted in a typically spectacular 22-yarder in the 74th minute as the Gers began look capable of converting their outfield superiority into goals.
A Black drive flew wide of the target, Robbie Crawford hit the post and Daly headed the rebound over the top, Templeton had another pop from distance and Little had a good shout for a penalty waved away in the final minute.
Of course, we would all like to have seen Rangers score more goals but 4-0 in our first competitive outing of the season - and our sixth clean sheet in seven games - will do for now.
Albion Rovers (4-5-1): Parry; Reid, Donnelly, M.Dunlop, R.Dunlop; Flood, Innes, Crawford, Nicoll, Phillips; McGuigan Subs. Chaplain (for Flood HT), Tiffney (for Innes 63 mins), Miller (for Nicoll 75).
Rangers (3-5-2): Gallacher; Faure, McCulloch, McAusland; Crawford, Law, Black, Macleod, Wallace; Little, Daly. Subs. Templeton (for Macleod 65), Aird (for
Referee: James Beaton.
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