Saturday November 9, 2013
SPFL League One
McCulloch 64 pen
Airdrieonians travelled to Ibrox for the second time in just over a week as Gary Bollan took the reins for his first league game as manager.
Last Friday's 3-0 Scottish Cup defeat was Bollan's first match in charge, and the Diamonds put up a spirited defensive display before full-time Rangers stepped up a gear in the second half.
Two personnel changes were made for today's match, Andy Duncan taking over in goal from the ineligible Tony Bullock, and teenage striker Liam Coogans replacing Lewis Coult.
The occasion of Remembrance weekend was marked by an impeccably observed minute's silence, signalled by the firing of an artillery cannon.
Straight away Rangers signalled their intent, David Templeton's low cross hacked off the line by Grant Drummond before Duncan punched clear a Nicky Clark effort.
Duncan was in action again five minutes later, getting down smartly to save Jon Daly's header.
Daly led the Rangers line, getting on the end of a Bilel Mohsni cross on 15 minutes, but Andy Duncan watched his header sail wide of his right-hand post.
Duncan's blushes were spared a minute later when he kicked a passback directly to the onrushing Nicky Clark, but the striker shot well wide.
The Diamonds' first chance came on 28 minutes, Martin Hardie firing a 25-yard free kick over the bar.
A minute later Duncan was the hero as a Lee Wallace piledriver hit Nicky Clark in the area. The striker controlled the effort and fired a shot away, but Duncan got down brilliantly to make a fine reflex save and smother the ball.
Rangers went on the attack immediately in the second half, and it took them only 45 seconds to break the deadlock.
An Arnold Peralta cross from the right wing nicked off an Airdrie head straight into the path of Jon Daly, and the Irishman bulleted his header beyond Duncan to make it 1-0.
The Gers had chances to increase their lead, Ian Black combining well with Clark to add to the constant threat of Nicky Law.
Lee Wallace was again in impressive form for the light blues, and his deep cross in the 54th minute was headed off the crossbar by Clark, who was then thwarted by another stunning Duncan save.
Ten minutes later, Ally McCoist's men had a penalty. Gregor Buchanan tangled with Templeton in the box, and Don Robertson pointed to the spot.
Lee McCulloch made no mistake in blasting home the penalty to double the Rangers lead.
Airdrie had their own chances, a Sinclair free kick well gathered by Cammy Bell before Hardie and Blockley both struck late efforts wide of target.
Having stated how pleased he was with last week's defensive play, boss Gary Bollan can be further encouraged with today's display, and will be looking forward to next week's home tie with Dunfermline Athletic.
Stuart Mathie at Ibrox Stadium.
Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.