Elgin City 2-6 Rangers

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland Sport
Highlights - Elgin 2-6 Rangers

Lee McCulloch and Andy Little grabbed doubles as Rangers eased to a win over Elgin City to stretch their lead at the top of Division Three to nine points.

Little fired Rangers ahead after only four minutes, but Daniel Moore's fine strike levelled for plucky Elgin.

Although Little tapped in again for the visitors, City replied once more through a Mark Nicolson free-kick.

But two clinical McCulloch finishes and powerful strikes by Lewis Macleod and Kyle Hutton ended Elgin's hopes.

That ended a miserable fixture for the Borough Briggs club, who had already suffered a £25,000 fine and the loss of live television money after the initial scheduled date was postponed because they sold too many tickets.

Macleod celebrates with Little after scoring Rangers' fifth goal
Macleod celebrates with Little after scoring Rangers' fifth goal

Rangers took an early lead against the side sitting second in the table.

Little was put through behind the Elgin defence and, although it initially looked like he had taken the ball too wide when rounding goalkeeper John Gibson, he managed to squeeze it inside the near post.

But Elgin, who lost 3-0 at Ibrox in Scottish Cup this month, refused to be overawed and had already created a couple of half chances by the time Moore fired a superb drive into the far corner from 20 yards.

Just as they had done after being reduced to 10 men in midweek against Annan Athletic, Rangers responded to the threat by restoring the lead, this time within seven minutes.

David Templeton's cross from the byeline found Little, who side-footed home from close range.

Another seven minutes, another goal - and another superb Elgin equaliser.

The home side were awarded a free-kick 22 yards out and, although Nicolson's fine curler over the wall took a slight deflection, it always looked to have the better of goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

Elgin were matching their more illustrious visitors in terms of possession, but McCulloch's international class proved to be the difference.

With Brazilian defender Emilson Cribari making his return after two months out through injury, McCulloch had been pushed back up front in place of Francisco Sandaza.

And he gathered Little's low pass before swivelling inside the penalty box and firing a piledriver off the underside of the crossbar from eight yards.

Elgin were more wasteful in front of goal when Alexander spilled a high Moore cross under pressure and Gunn fired wildly over from 12 yards.

Rangers made their hosts pay for their profligacy and McCulloch found the far corner with a low drive on the turn after being set up by Templeton on the edge of the penalty box.

If that did not kill of the game as a contest, Macleod made sure four minutes later with another grass-cutter from 18 yards through a sea of legs.

Robbie Crawford and Chris Hegarty both forced good saves from Gibson before Little sent a glancing header just wide.

Hutton grabbed his first goal for Rangers with a beauty from long range before blotting his copybook by pulling down Stuart Lesley.

However, Moore's poorly-taken penalty was pushed away by Alexander - the goalkeeper's second penalty save of the week as he helped Rangers to a commanding lead in the Division Three table.

Elgin: Gibson, Niven, Crighton, Nicolson, Gunn (Millar 79), Cameron, O'Donoghue, Harkins (McMullan 84), Moore, Wyness (Beveridge 70), Leslie. Subs Not Used: Malin, McHardy.

Booked: Harkins, Crighton, Moore.

Goals: Moore 18, Nicolson 32.

Rangers: Aird, Argyriou (Perry 46), Hegarty, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Little, Hutton, Macleod (Stella 79), Templeton (Crawford 70), McCulloch, McKay. Subs Not Used: Currie, Naismith.

Booked: Hegarty.

Goals: Little 5, 24, McCulloch 41, 60, Macleod 64, Hutton 83.

Att: 3,448

Ref: Brian Colvin

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