Rangers maintain title drive with 3-1 victory over Morton

Rangers' Lee Wallace scores his side's third goal of the game
Rangers' Lee Wallace scores his side's third goal of the game

RANGERS 3 MORTON 1

Rangers came from behind to defeat Morton 3-1 at Ibrox to open up a 15-point lead over second-placed Falkirk in the Championship race.

Two-goal Kenny Miller was the outstanding player as Mark Warburton’s side continued its title march.

Warburton made one change from last weekend with Michael O’Halloran, ineligible for the Scottish Cup, returning in place of the suspended Rob Kiernan.

A one-minute silence in memory of Billy Ritchie, former Rangers goalkeeper who has died atthe age of 79, was impeccably observed prior to kick-off.

Harry Forrester opened the scoring after just 14 seconds last weekend – and he almostgrabbed another early strike on this occasion when his third-minute effort from the edge of the area was held by visiting goalkeeper Derek Gaston.

Rangers continued to press for an early opener and Jason Holt was inches away with a flick from a Lee Wallace cutback shortly afterwards.

The Ibrox men were dominating possession and winning corner after corner – but had barely managed a shot on target when, with virtually their first attack, Morton opened the scoring after Barrie McKay lost possession, a swift break by Bobby Barr ending with a powerful

drive blocked by Wes Foderingham, the rebound effectively breaking off Denny Johnstone into the net.

The scores were levelled two minutes before the interval when from a James Tavernier corner Miller rose at the near post to bullet home a powerful header.

Dean Shiels substituted for Harry Forrester at the break – and within two minutes of the restart Rangers had the lead when Miller again turned to rifle home a Holt lay-off following a mazy McKay run down the left.

The transformation from the first half was an eye-opener – and it was 3-1 on 56 minutes when McKay again created room on the left before finding Lee Wallace 15 yards out, who turned to ram home a left –foot shot into the top corner of the net.

Northern Ireland international Shiels was denied by the crossbar nine minutes later when his powerful 20-yard drive came thundering off the woodwork.

Miller turned the ball into the net only to be denied his second hat-trick of the season by a linesman’s flag for offside.

Billy King came on for Michael O’Halloran shortly afterwards – and ‘Deano’ was again denied on 71 minutes when his shot from a Miller lay-off was blocked by a defender.

Miller went off to a standing ovation in the 77 th minute with Nicky Clark substituting.

Rangers: Foderingham; Tavernier, Ball, Wilson, Wallace; O’Halloran (King 66), Holt, Halliday, Forrester (Shiels 45), McKay; Miller (Clark 77)

Unused Subs: Bell, Law, Burt, Thomson

Morton: Gaston: Miller, Kilday, O’Ware, Russell; Barr, McKee, McManus (McDonald 85), Forbes (Tennent 90), McCluskey; Johnstone (McMullan 77)

Unused Subs: McNeil, Lamie, Scullion

Referee: Nick Walsh