Rangers’ midfielder Andy Halliday celebrated his first goal for Rangers at Ibrox on Tuesday evening with the final strike in a 4-0 win over Dunbarton.
Halliday struck from the penalty spot after Lee Wallace was upended by Steven Saunders in the 87th minute.
With regular penalty-kicker Martyn Waghorn already substituted it fell to Halliday to step forward, making no mistake as he blasted the ball past ‘Sons’ goalkeeper Mark Brown – himself a former Ranger - and he outlined exactly what it meant to him.
“I actually thought about it when Martyn went off - it was 2-0 at the time and I was thinking to myself ‘I hope we get a penalty’ because it’s been a long time coming for me to get my first goal at Ibrox and I was delighted I managed to tuck it away,” he said.
“It was very special for me. To be honest I felt pretty nervous before I took the penalty and I think that’s why I put my foot through it.
“I just started to laugh about 20 seconds before the penalty but I managed to stick it away and it was important because it was in front of the Copland Road Stand as well.”
Born and bred in the shadow of Ibrox, Halliday grew up a Rangers fan and there was no doubt it was a night to remember for the midfielder, whose three goals in Light Blue since joining in the summer all came in away games at Easter Road, Airdrie and Dumfries.
A goalless interval score-line had followed a pretty dire opening 45 minutes and Halliday left no-one in any doubt about the mood in the dressing-room at half-time.
“The Manager was angry and it’s probably a side that we’ve not seen from him before,” he said.
“There were a few words said at half time and rightly so. We all knew what was at stake before the game, it was our game in hand and a chance to go three points clear at the top of the table.”
The assessment of that first 45 minutes was brutally frank.
“The first half wasn’t good enough. We weren’t playing well, although we still had a lot of possession in terms of switching the play. But at the end of the day when you are playing on a big pitch like Ibrox and you have that amount of possession, then Dumbarton were always going to tire.
“However, it’s important when we are not playing well to still do the right things and I think that’s why we managed to score four goals in the second half.”
Meanwhile, rumours continue to link Mark Warburton with the vacant Manager’s position at Fulham but Halliday dismissed the possibility out of hand.
“It’s important that the manager stays. There have been a lot of new faces coming in this summer and none more so than the gaffer. He’s come in and changed quite a lot of things, including the style of play on the park and the mentality of the boys.
“It would be a huge disappointment if he moved on but to be honest I can’t see that happening. He came here and he knew he had a job to do. I think he will stay for the duration and do what he has to do.”
Next up for Rangers is a visit to Kirkcaldy on Saturday to face fourth-placed Raith Rovers at Starks Park.