Before the teams had even appeared for their pre-match warm-up, Ally McCoist slowly walked across the pitch on his own, lost to his thoughts. Among them might have been concerns about which performance his Rangers team would deliver: the one that discarded Celtic last Sunday, or the one that lost so meekly to Falkirk in the League Cup three days later.
In the stark sunlight, and looking pensive, he was a manager framed by the isolation that comes with the demands of his job. By the end, his side had racked up four goals with a measured ease, and the lonely walk was a distant memory. "Happy birthday," Rangers fans sang, with McCoist having turned 49 yesterday.
His team were emphatic: driven and purposeful, but also able to take advantage of a Dunfermline side so out of sorts that even simple passes were clumsily knocked out of play. It took only nine minutes for Carlos Bocanegra to open the scoring with a header. Maurice Edu then added the second with a sweeping effort from 20 yards out.
Dunfermline's response was sporadic, although Andy Barrowman did force Allan McGregor to leap up and tip his header over the bar. Mostly, though, the game was shaped by the crisp and decisive way Rangers moved the ball around the pitch, opening the home side up with an often disdainful ease.
Steven Davis created the third for Steven Naismith after the interval, sliding a clever pass through the Dunfermline defence to send the forward in on goal. Naismith then added the fourth just before the end, converting Nikica Jelavic's pass after another long, driving Davis run.
"That was just what the doctor ordered," said McCoist. "We got a great reaction from the players."
Dunfermline (4-5-1): Gallacher; J Thomson, Dowie, Keddie, McCann; Graham, R Thomson (Kirk, 57), Mason, Burns, Cardle (Willis, 64); Barrowman (Buchanan, 79).
Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Whittaker, Goian, Bocanegra, Papac; Naismith, Davis, Edu, Wylde (Bedoya, 73); Jelavic (Healy, 84), Lafferty (Ortiz, h-t).
Referee Iain Brines.
Man of the match Davis (Rangers).
Match rating 5/10.Reuse content