August 31, 2013
Lee hits hat-trick as Rangers romp
Skipper Lee McCulloch netted the first competitive hat-trick of his career as Rangers romped to a 5-0 win over East Fife in Scottish League One.
Nicky Clark - who netted more than 40 goals in the same division last season with Queen of the South - set the ball rolling with a debut goal less than a minute after kick-off.
Lewis Macleod also found the back of the net in the clash at Ibrox as the Light Blues cruised to a comfortable three points against the Fifers.
As well as Clark, goalkeeper Cammy Bell also made his competitive debut, with both players featuring as the club's two permitted trialists.
Fellow new recruits Jon Daly and Nicky Law had featured in previous games this season but had both reached their maximum number of trialist appearances.
Rangers will finally be able to register their eight new signings when a transfer embargo ends at midnight on Saturday.
The match was just 30 seconds old when Clark opened his account for his new club, racing onto McCulloch's flick-on and coolly firing past goalkeeper Michael Andrews.
At the other end, Bell had his first touch when he was called into action to smother Cedric Tuta's low drive.
McCulloch should have doubled Rangers' advantage on two minutes with a bullet header that flashed inches past the upright.
A lovely move from the home side then saw Ian Black release Lee Wallace down the left flank before he cut back for Clark, who rippled the side-netting.
McCulloch added his name to the scoresheet after 17 minutes when he threw himself in front of a Wallace ball into the box and glanced a header beyond the helpless Andrews.
The pair combined well again as Rangers claimed their third of the day after 37 minutes, with Wallace supplying the cross from the left and McCulloch nodding home at the back post.
Rangers were hungry for more goals in the second half and Macleod netted in impressive style nine minutes after the restart with a superb 20-yard volley that left the goalkeeper with no chance.
McCulloch completed his hat-trick with 62 minutes gone with yet another header.
This time, the delivery was provided by Kyle McAusland and the Gers skipper rose above everyone else in the box to nod over the line from close range.
Clark was also keen to add to his own tally but a well-struck shot from the forward was claimed by Andrews.
It proved to be Clark's final contribution to the match and he was replaced by Fraser Aird for the final 10 minutes, leaving the pitch to rapturous applause from the 42,870 crowd.
|1 B Trialist||1 Michael Andrews|
|3 Sanchez Emilson Cribari||3 Craig Johnstone|
|5 Lee Wallace||4 Gary Thom|
|4 Sebastien Faure||2 A Trialist|
|2 Kyle McAusland||5 Joe Mbu|
|8 Ian Black||8 Alexis Dutot|
|11 David Templeton||9 Ross Brownlee|
|7 Robbie Crawford||7 Paul Willis|
|10 Lewis MacLeod||6 Jonathan Stewart|
|6 Lee McCulloch||11 Liam Buchanan|
|9 A Trialist||10 Cedric Tuta|
|16 Scott Gallacher||Greg Paterson 21|
|14 Luca Gasparotto||Scott McBride 14|
|17 Fraser Aird||Cyrus Moosavi 16|
|19 Charles Telfer||Ryan Stewart 18|
|18 Andrew Murdoch||Lewis Barr 17|
|12 Dean Shiels||Nathan Austin 15|
|15 Barry McKay||Patrick Clarke 12|
|Barry McKay for David Templeton (63)||Scott McBride for Alexis Dutot (49)|
|Andrew Murdoch for Ian Black (70)||Nathan Austin for Liam Buchanan (61)|
|Fraser Aird for A Trialist (80)||Patrick Clarke for Cedric Tuta (80)|
|Cedric Tuta (20)|
|Jonathan Stewart (36)|
|Craig Johnstone (75)|
|Gary Thom (78)|
|· Squads: Rangers | East Fife|