Rangers continued their unbeaten start to the new SPL season with a 4 - 1 victory over visitors Hamilton Academical at Ibrox Stadium (29th Aug 09). Doubles form Steven Whittaker and last season’s top SPL goal scorer Kirs Boyd ensured that all three points were taken by the Ibrox side.
The victory sees Rangers go top of the league on goal difference after Celtics 1 – 0 away win against Hibs today (30 Aug 09). Hamilton did manage to score a late consolation three minutes from time through defender Mark McLaughlin but it was too little too late even though it was Hamilton’s the first goal of season.
Hamilton remain at the foot of the league table having failed to secure a single point so far this season alongside Falkirk (who were defeated 2 – 1 at Dundee United) and Hearts (who are away to St Johnstone today kick off 3pm) who both have a better goal difference.
So where did it all go wrong for the visitors? Rangers put on the pressure when Steven Davis ran on to a long ball from Pedro Mendes (back in the side after recovering from a thigh strain) who surged into the box only for his effort to be blocked by Accies Czech stopper Tomas Creny. Davis had a second bite of the cherry only to hit the side netting.
Steven Davis had another effort saved from Tomas Creny before creating the first goal, Davis setting up a low through ball in behind Luis Rubiales and cooly slotted home by Steven Whittaker to the home crowds delight on the 19th minute.
After coming of the bench last week to slot home an injury time penalty winner against Hearts, striker Kris Boyd was back in the starting eleven and he demonstrated his intent on being a regular first pick to manager Walter Smith on the 27th minute with a headed goal.
Kris Boyd celebrates his 27th minute header against Hamilton.
Rangers dominance of the game continued after the break with Kris Boyd slotting home his second of the afternoon after 65 minutes. Again Steven Davis playing director with Stevie Naismith finding Kris Boyd unmarked who slotted home from ten yards for his second of the afternoon.
Goal number four came just two minutes later from a smart one-two between the two Steven’s, Whittaker through to Davis who returned the ball to Whittaker who sent a left-foot curler past Tomas Creny for his second of the afternoon. Barring Mark McLaughlin’s late consolation three minutes from full time it wasn’t Hamilton’s day.
Not the most testing of afternoons for the SPL champions however taking care of domestic business is always a priority and it was certainly job done in that case.
Bigger tests lie in the weeks ahead namely Rangers first Champions League opener against VfB Stuttgart (16th September) who of course Rangers beat in their last outing in the competition with a home win but will want to avoid another away defeat to the German side like last time. Rangers who are in Group C also drew Spanish side Sevilla and Romanian champions Unirae Urziceni (making their debut in the competition) in this weeks Champions League draw.
Champions League Trophy.
Considered a good draw for Rangers, I’m sure Walter Smith and the rest of the management team will employ a confident yet cautious approach as they look to build on their 2008 UEFA Cup Final appearance by reaching the last sixteen of the competition like they did for first time in season 2005/06, only for the away goals rule to beat Rangers over two legs against Villarreal.
Still no new faces at Ibrox this season with the transfer window closing at 5pm on the 1st of September will we be seeing any last minute buys from Walter Smith? Or indeed further sales as Aaron Niguez goes back go his homeland and signs for Spanish side Celta Vigo making him the eighth player to head out of Ibrox this summer.
With premiership side Bolton rumored to be interested in midfielder Steven Davis and Sunday paper talk of striker Kris Boyd attracting interest from German outfit Hertha Berlin only time will tell if the exodus continues and if any new signings are made.
Watch this space as they say.