RANGERS 3 FORFAR 0
Rangers got back to winning ways at Ibrox on Tuesday night with a 3-0 League win over Forfar Athletic – goals from Ian Black, Bilel Mohsni and Dean Shiels sealing the win.
Following two consecutive defeats in cup ties, the aim upon resumption of the League One campaign was clearly to maintain the club’s unbeaten record – and with just four games remaining in the campaign the finishing line is in sight.
A one-minute silence in memory of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster was impeccably observed prior to kick-off.
Rangers pressed from the start in search of an early goal, Ian Black’s 25-yard drive being touched over by ‘Loons goalkeeper Darren Hill.
The early drive soon disappeared however and play was unimaginative and sterile for much of the remainder of the first half.
A superb pass from Nicky Law in 35 minutes presented Jon Daly with a golden opportunity to open the scoring – but with the goal at his mercy the centre shot well wide of the target.
If anything, the miss was even worse than Saturday’s – and it did nothing to soothe the growing frustration amongst the ‘Gers fans in the 39,704 crowd.
The crowd however erupted in anger on the stroke of half-time when Shiels was body-checked inside the box by Mark Baxter. It was a stonewall penalty – but unbelievably Referee Craig Charleston chose to book the Northern Ireland striker for simulation.
The official was roundly booed as he left the field at the interval – but the scoreline remained blank. The second-half however would be a different story.
Eight minutes after the restart Steven Smith almost repeated his goalscoring feat against Dundee United – a 25-yard free-kick that was heading for the roof of the net until turned over by Darren Hill.
Immediately afterwards Shiels created space on the left before cutting inside and finding Arnold Peralta on the right, the Honduran’s cross being headed over by Jon Daly.
The crowd’s frustration was growing more acute with every passing minute – and just before the hour mark it came close to boiling point when Smith raced to the bye-line on the left, his cutback across the face of goal finding not one single Ranger in the vicinity.
Out of the blue Black broke the deadlock midway through the second-half with a stunning left-foot drive from fully thirty yards that exploded into the back of the net.
It is fair to say that the goal was totally out of character with the rest of the game – but the relief around Ibrox was palpable.
Seven minutes later Arnold Peralta limped off to be substituted by Fraser Aird.
The winger was scarcely on the park before Rangers went 2-0 ahead when from Smith’s free-kick the ball broke to Shiels who chipped the ball onto the top of the crossbar – Mohsni heading home the rebound from point-blank range.
Ten minutes later it was 3-0 when Shiels netted with a flying header from a Fraser Aird cross.
Rangers: Simonsen; Foster, McCulloch, Mohsni, Smith; Peralta (Aird 74), Black (Hutton 85), Law, Shiels; Clark (Crawford 87), Daly
Unused Subs: Gallacher, Faure, Cribari, Hegarty
Forfar Athletic: Hill; Baxter, I. Campbell; Dale, Malcolm, Dods; Kader, Duggan, Templeman (Fotheringham 75), Fusco (R. Campbell 75), Hilson (Malin 75)
Unused Subs: Salmon, Andrews, Gibson, McLellan
Referee: Craig Charleston