SCOTTISH FOOTBALL: Martyn Waghorn grabs a double as Rangers beat Hamilton

Rangers' Martyn Waghorn scores his side's second goal of the game
Rangers' Martyn Waghorn scores his side's second goal of the game
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Martyn Waghorn netted his first league goals since August as Rangers shot down Hamilton 2-1 at the SuperSeal Stadium.

The Englishman had not found the net in the Ladbrokes Premiership since striking against Martin Canning’s men on the opening day of the season.

But he ensured Gers registered three straight top-flight wins for the first time this season with a clinical brace.

Dougie Imrie gave Hamilton hope late on but victory strengthens Rangers’ grasp on second spot as they move seven points clear of Aberdeen - albeit having played two games more - while denying Accies the opportunity to move into the top six.

With Rangers having adopted a more direct approach to accommodate striker Joe Garner, it was Accies who produced the more fluent football in the opening phases.

But all the hosts had to show for their guile was a deflected Danny Redmond effort which squirmed wide.

The visitors took their time getting warmed up but as Barrie McKay - impressive against Hearts last week - began pulling the strings, the traffic was increasingly going in one direction.

However, Hamilton’s relentless work-rate meant it was never going to be a Gers barrage.

The closest they came during a largely drab opening half hour came when Greg Docherty sent a header towards his own goal. Gary Woods did not exactly look conformable in goal as he flapped at the ball when it came back off the crossbar but he was thankful no-one in blue was close enough to take advantage.

Docherty did better at the other end when he robbed James Tavernier, but put too much on his shot as he tried to beat Wes Foderingham from a tight angle.

Rob Kiernan and Waghorn both came close but eventually the pressure being applied to the hosts told as Rangers struck a minute before the break.

Waghorn - making his first start since October 14 in place of Kenny Miller - started the move as he released Jason Holt into the box.

And the striker was quick to dart onto his team-mate’s cut-back before looping a header over Woods, with the ball clipping the underside of the bar on its way into the net.

The former Wigan frontman has looked a shadow of the player who hit 28 goals last term after having his start to the campaign disrupted by hamstring trouble.

But he confidently tucked away his second on 52 minutes, slotting home from Lee Wallace’s cross after the skipper raced onto another pin-point McKay pass.

Alex D’Acol came close to pulling one back for Hamilton as he flashed wide from 25 yards out and Woods blocked well at Tavernier’s feet.

With renewed self-belief surging through the Rangers ranks, Accies found themselves increasingly penned in as the half wore on.

They survived further damage when Garner, Waghorn and Tavernier all failed to control shots which flew over.

Imrie then set Gers nerves jangling as he pulled one back with 13 minutes left, finishing off after Redmond mugged Andy Halliday out wide, but the visitors held on.