Accies media team Mark Gillespie was our reporter at Ibrox on Sunday afternoon…
at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
on Sunday, 8th November, 2020, kick off 3pm
Rangers 8 Hamilton Academical 0
Brian Rice insists there’s only one direction Accies can go after the most gruelling 90 minutes of his Accies tenure. Four goals in either half leave both sides as you were, top and bottom of the table.
The Accies boss saw this game go all but out of sight inside the opening 20 minutes. Rangers netted three times in as many minutes, Scott Arfield opening the floodgates before Jo Aribo, Kemar Roofe and James Tavernier all helped themselves to doubles, Sub Brandon Barker was also in on the scoring in the second half, Accies going eight down with 20 minutes still on the clock.
It was all a far cry from that night in March. Accies remain the last Scottish side to defeat the league leaders. The boss gave his thoughts post-match:
“We can only get better, stronger, more aggressive, more determined after that. For every setback you’ve got to learn from it. We need to improve and we need to do it quickly.”, he said.
“We’re all feeling down. I’m down. I’ll hold my hand up. I’ve got to be better, and I’ve got to make sure that they want to get better. But talking’s dead easy- we have to do it on the grass.”
“Some players were in their shell today, intimidated coming to an empty Ibrox. That’ll be addressed. It’s not because we played with two strikers today that we lost the game- it’s because we couldn’t defend. We made basic mistakes and lost three goals in four minutes. The first goal kills us. It’s a stupid goal.”
“I’ll never make excuses, but I struggled to put a fit team on the pitch today. Brian Easton’s not played since February. Two or three boys who had Covid had to play. We’ve been battered with Covid and injuries. But we need to do better than that.”
Only three players survived from the side victorious in March, goal hero David Moyo among them. Shaun Want and Scott Martin were missing from our last outing at Pittodrie on October 20th, and there was a first start of the season for Brian Easton. New recruits aaron Martin and Nathan Thomas were on the bench. Trafford, Templeton, Hamilton, Munro, Want were injured with Scott Martin isolating.
Rangers had the luxury of making five changes from their trip to Portugal in midweek. McLaughlin, Defoe, Roofe, Balogun and Arfield all started with the league leaders out to stretch the gap at the top.
They were soon out surging in confidence against an Accies side low on morale, with the habit of going down early. Within two minutes Fulton was tipping over a goal bound Connor Goldson volley as Rangers pegged us back into our own penalty box.
The Accies ‘keeper then thwarted shots from Ryan Kent and Tavernier, as the pressure grew. Accies had actually found a way up the pitch before a quick Rangers counter enabled Kent to dash into acres of space on the left flank to set up Arfield for the opener on 15 minutes.
Before we knew it, it was two, Tavernier crossing from the opposite byline and Roofe outjumping the Accies defence to nod home the first of his two goals. Almost from the restart Rangers dispossessed Accies for Joe Aribo to deflect home from the edge of the box on 18 minutes. A torrid, horrid start.
We offered little at the other end, Ogkmpoe all too isolated and unable to get up the pitch Rangers kept up the tempo, with Kent and Barisic coming close. Accies struggled to track runners in and around the box, Defoe and Kent causing havoc. Number four arrived on 36 minutes, Roofe setting up Aribo to fire high into the net inside the box.
Half time saw the assistant ref on the far side be replaced by the official as Rangers made two changes. Rangers came out looking for more, with Fulton busy to stop from Kent and Tavernier within five minutes of the restart.
It only delayed the hosts another few minutes. Roofe had his second on 53 minutes, after Defoe had struck the post, bundling home at close range. Two subs then combined for number six, Bassey setting up sub Brandon Barker to drive home on 61 minutes.
Rangers main incentive now was the dreaded double figure score line. Tavernier was soon in on the action with his seventh spot kick of the season on 64 minutes, after Odoffin brought down Defoe in the box.
We had 25 minutes to endure, but the Rangers captain soon added his second, tapping home after Fulton had stopped Barker’s initial effort on 68 minutes.
Rangers weren’t to make it into double digits. The post prevented Defoe from adding number nine on 76 minutes with Accies counting the clock down on afternoon to forget.
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Jack (Zungu, 45), Defoe, Kent (Barker, 57), Aribo (Hagi 70, )Roofe, Balogun, Barisic (Bassey, 45), Arfield (Itten 74); Subs Unused:McGregor, Helander, Kamara, Morelos
Goals: Arfield, 15, Roofe, 17, 53 Aribo, 18, 35, Barker, 61, Tavernier 64pen, 68
Accies: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann, Stirling, Easton (c), Collar, Ogkmpoe (Winter, 54), Hughes (L Smith, 54), Moyo, Hodson, Callachan (Mimnaugh, 72); Subs Unused: Gourlay, Stanger, A Martin, Johnson, C Smith, Thomas
Bookings: Moyo, 22, Callachan, 26
Referee: Steven McLean; Assistants: David McGeachie & Paul O’Neill; 4th Official: Colin Steven