Football: Wallace's late hat-trick emphasises class gap

Kilmarnock 0 Rangers 5
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ROD WALLACE struck a second half hat-trick to finally kill off Kilmarnock's title challenge.

Even before a ball was kicked in last night's televised match, the symptoms of Scotland's ill-divided football world were all too obvious. Gordon Durie, Rangers latest edition to a long list of casualties, having been ruled out for the remainder of the season after recent surgery, now brings the tally of wealth in reserve to a staggering pounds 15m.

The fact that this amount is probably double the value of Kilmarnock's total assets tells its own story. If this was not enough to make the Rugby Park side feel the poor relation, the opening stages certainly drummed home the difference. With only five minutes gone Rangers' Andrei Kanchelskis made tracks down the right before crossing for Neil McCann.

The recent pounds 2m signing from Hearts made no mistake from close range for his fourth goal in three games.

The home side looked quite simply overwhelmed by the visitors forward pace, and further damage was almost inflicted minutes later. Again Kanchelskis played the role of provider but the shot from Stephane Guivarc'h thundered inches past.

Rangers, with only three players at the back, flooded midfield and mercilessly exposed Kilmarnock's threadbare defence. Rangers began the second period in the manner in which they finished the first, holding the upper hand. Kanchelskis wasted no time in renewing his threat, forcing Gordon Marshall to push over a 28-yard drive.

For all Kilmarnock's toil they found it impossible to make any impact. The forward-linking between Paul Wright and Ally McCoist was fraught with misunderstanding, while Ian Durrant's passing from midfield was woeful. McCoist missed their best chance from 10 yards out, and then Rangers rubbed home their superiority with four goals in the last 12 minutes. Rod Wallace scored the second after 74 minutes, substitute Jonatan Johansson got the third and Wallace completed his hat-trick with two more in the last four minutes.

Goals: McCann (5) 0-1; Wallace (74) 0-2; Johansson (85) 0-3; Wallace (86) 0-4; Wallace (90) 0-5.

Kilmarnock (4-4-2): Marshall; Hamilton (Mitchell, 73), Baker, Montgomerie, McGowne; Reilly, Holt, Durrant, Wright; McCoist (Roberts, 83), Burke. Substitutes not used: Mahood, Lauchlan, A Strain (gk).

Rangers (3-4-3): Klos; Porrini (Nicholson, 83), Vidmar, Amoruso; Ferguson, Van Bronckhorst, Kanchelskis, Albertz (Hendry, 69); Wallace, Guivarc'h (Johansson, 79), McCann. Substitutes not used: Miller, Malcolm.

Referee: S Dougal (Burnside).

Man of the match: Wallace.

Attendance: 16,242.