Inverness CT 1-4 Rangers

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland

Ruthless Rangers responded to the threat of losing their jobs by thumping Inverness at Caledonian Stadium.

Steven Davis sidefooted home from close range after six minutes and Sone Aluko drove into the far corner 10 minutes later for the side in administration.

Andrew Little broke clear to finish after 36 minutes, only for Steve Williams to head a reply four minutes later for lively Inverness.

But Lee McCulloch's 72nd-minute tap-in ensured the victory for Rangers.

It steadies the Ibrox ship following last week's home defeat by Kilmarnock, coming at the end of a week in which they were deducted 10 points after calling in the administrators.

And it comes days before an expected announcement about the future of players and other staff.

Little was in fine form, scoring one and setting up another for Rangers
Little was in fine form, scoring one and setting up another for Rangers

Rangers narrowed the gap with leaders Celtic to 20 points but more importantly moved Ally McCoist's side six points clear of third-top Motherwell in the race for a Champions League qualifying place.

McCoist dug deep into his depleted resources to give starting places to inexperienced trio Ross Perry, Andrew Little and Salim Kerkar with Lee Wallace injured, Sasa Papac suspended and veteran striker David Healy dropped to the bench.

Inverness lumped the ball forward immediately in an attempt to exploit Perry's lack of height in defence.

However, it was Kerkar and Little who made the bigger impact on the game at the other end in a whirlwind start for the Ibrox side.

Kerkar's low cross into the six-yard box was turned into the net by captain Davis, who had started the swift break with a pass to Maurice Edu.

Billy McKay, who came into the home side along with Gregory Tade and Williams in place of David Proctor, Claude Gnakpa and Shane Sutherland, drove the ball across the face of the Rangers goal as the game flowed from end to end.

Aluko missed a great chance when he headed wide after being found unmarked at the back post by a Davis cross.

However, the winger soon atoned for that when he fired into the far corner from 18 yards after McCulloch laid off Little's low cross into his path.

Greg Tansey twice threatened from long range, skewing one effort wide of the far post then having another effort beaten away by goalkeeper Allan McGregor before Dorin Goian cleared his lines.

McKay was inches away from connecting within the Rangers six-yard box before Rangers stretched their lead further.

Kerkar, making his first start for the Ibrox club, sent a superb ball inside full-back Josh Meekings and Little coolly lifted it over goalkeeper Ryan Esson from 10 yards.

Inverness replied following a disputed corner when Williams rose to head in Tansey's inswinging corner from 12 yards.

Tade volleyed over as the home side took heart in the final move of the first-half, with manager Terry Butcher withdrawing Meekings at half-time and bringing on David Proctor.

Caley Thistle cleared twice off their own line in quick succession when a Davis corner struck Edu's shoulder before being prevented from crossing the line by the same part of Ross's anatomy then Esson's studs prevented Davis's low drive extending Rangers' lead.

Little was again involved in the move that led to Rangers' fourth goal before Kerkar's low shot was spilled by Esson and McCulloch pounced to tap the ball over the line.

The veteran was cruelly denied a second goal when his thunderbolt struck the underside of the bar and television replays showed it had possibly crossed the line before bouncing clear.

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