We lost at Ibrox on Saturday (18th March) for the second time in a fortnight, this time on league business.
First half goals from Hyndman and Hill were added to after the break by a Waghorn penalty and Wallace. Web reporter Mark Gillespie gives is his take on the game.
Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
Saturday 18th March 2017 at 3pm.
Rangers 4 Hamilton Academical 0
Accies endured another long afternoon at Ibrox, with defeat pushing them to the foot of the league table. On the day, this was another morale sapping loss to a top four side, but manager Martin Canning believes his side’s ultimate fate this season will be determined by how they fare against rivals in the lower half of the table.
“We’ve had a difficult run of fixtures, playing the top four teams in successive weeks, all but one away from home. Now we need to make sure in the last nine games that we take points from teams around about us.”, Canning said.
“I firmly believe all of our remaining games are winnable games now. The confidence is still there that we can turn this around.”
The loss of so many soft goals however will be a concern, with 14 conceded in the last three outings. The result carried echoes of the recent cup visit to Ibrox. The Accies boss points to recurring frailties his side need to work on:
“They are a good team. It was always going to be a difficult game against Rangers with a new manager, a big crowd and so much expectation. The plan was to contain them for a spell and maybe open up towards the end, but we conceded soft goals which again is frustrating.”
“We had contained them for most of the first half, they scored a goal from good play by them, but then the goal before half time was really disappointing from our point of view, conceding from another set piece. It came at a bad time, right before the break which has happened too much for us in recent games. We’re switching off at crucial points, and it’s something we need to work on.”
After last week’s defeat at Tynecastle Canning had made three changes, with Skondras, Bingham and Brophy dropping to the bench. In came Gillespie, Gogic and MacKinnon who had served two separate cup and league suspensions.
New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha meanwhile didn’t tinker too much with last week’s side who drew at Parkhead, with only fit again Jon Toral replacing Lee Hodson who dropped to the bench.
The new Rangers boss was given a rapturous welcome with the onus well and truly on Accies to silence the home support. It worked for only about the opening 20 minutes or so, with Rangers dominating possession but unable to carve out any clear openings.
It took a flowing move to get the home fans off their feet on 25 minutes. Miller released McKay with a quick first time ball down the right flank, but McKay’s cut back fell to Holt who could only shoot over.
But the respite was to be short lived, with Rangers slowly gaining the upper hand. Waghorn fired just wide on 24 minutes, and two minutes later they took the lead as Tavernier found space out wide to pick out Hyndman who finished in style from close range.
Accies seemed to steady things for a spell after, gaining more possession and attempts on goal, with Imrie firing a couple of speculative shots over the bar. Ali Crawford then had a spectacular overhead effort easily gathered by Foderingham on 38 minutes.
But having started to string some passes together and push up Accies were to be undone at the back and frustratingly from another set piece on 40 minutes, as Toral’s free kick delivery found Clint Hill unmarked at the back post to tap home.
Rangers had a firm grip of proceedings thereafter, and carried the momentum into the second half. A Tavernier free kick grazed the bar on 54 minutes, with both he and Lee Wallace finding a wealth of space on either flank, as the home side sought to move the ball swiftly in the final third.
And on 55 minutes, after some loose Accies play at the back, Rangers had a third goal. Gogic’s header fell to Miller on the edge of the box, playing in Waghorn, with the Rangers striker going down under Donati’s challenge. Referee Don Robertson pointed to the spot and Waghorn stepped up to convert.
It was all really about damage limitation from there on. Accies tried in vain to relieve the pressure on the defence, as waves of Rangers attacks continued. On 68 minutes MacKinnon had a 50-yard driving run into the Rangers box but found himself on his own with no one up in support and his cross went begging.
Both sides made some changes as Accies sought to limit the damage, with Rangers largely content to see a comfortable victory out. But they had one last blow to strike on 74 minutes, as Waghorn released Wallace down the left of the six-yard box, and from a tight angle the Rangers captain found Woods’ far corner.
Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Hill, Wallace, Wilson, Toral, Miller (Forrester 82), McKay (Garner 65), Hyndman, Holt, Waghorn (Dodoo 76). Subs Unused: Alnwick, Windass, Hodson, Senderos.
Goals: Hyndman 25, Hill 40, Waghorn 55 pen, Wallace 73.
Cautions: Tavernier, Wallace
Accies: Woods, Gillespie (Skondras 75), Imrie, Docherty (D’Acol 69), Redmond (Kurtaj 82), Crawford, Gogic, MacKinnon, Donati (c), McMann, Sarris. Subs Unused: Matthews, Bingham, Watson, Brophy.
Cautions: Redmond, Gogic
Referee: Don Robertson, Assistants: Graeme Stewart & Graham McNeillie, 4th Official: David Lowe.