McKay drives Rangers into top gear on the road

East Stirlingshire 2 Rangers 6

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The Independent Football

Rangers had to endure this win. The East Stirlingshire players were often heavily aggressive in their tackling, with midfielder Ian Black a particular target for rough treatment. Dean Shiels also left the field with a sore leg, but the knocks and bruises could be borne when the match itself allowed a measure of comfort.

There were awkward passages of play for the visitors, with two moments of slackness in defence leading to two East Stirlingshire goals. Yet there was never any sense of alarm for Rangers, since they always seemed capable of subduing East Stirlingshire with their own efforts.

Away games have been fraught occasions for Ally McCoist's side this season, but the self-doubt was discarded here.

Rangers were immediately bright, with Barrie McKay quick-witted and inventive on the left wing. The home side were obliged to defend with resolve, but they were vulnerable to moments of anxiety as demonstrated when Sean Kelly lunged at Dean Shiels inside the area to concede an early penalty. Lee McCulloch converted to establish an advantage that Rangers were able to protect with relative ease.

East Stirlingshire, though, were culpable in their downfall with Philipp Zufle, the hosts' German midfielder, sent off for raising his studs in a challenge on Kevin Kyle.

Rangers swiftly added to their lead when Andy Little's shot dipped over Grant Hay, the East Stirling goalkeeper, after taking a deflection off Ricky Miller.

Even though Kevin Turner scored with a header just before half-time, defender Lee Wallace restored the two-goal advantage immediately after the interval with a shot from distance.

East Stirlingshire struck again when McCulloch barged into Nathan Shepherd to concede a penalty which Paul Quinn finished confidently, but the home side were only making a brief impact, and Rangers promptly scored again themselves when striker Kyle turned in Little's effort from close range.

McKay returned to prominence before the end; first setting up Kai Naismith for the fifth goal, then earning Rangers' second penalty when Steve Jackson handled inside the box.

McCulloch stepped up again to score his 19th goal of the season and complete an emphatic victory.

"Some of our goals were good quality," said McCoist, whose side remain top of Irn-Bru Division Three. "I'm disappointed with the way we lost two goals, but it was a good day's work. The attitude of the players was right given the way we started the game."

East Stirlingshire (4-5-1): Hay; Jackson, Miller, Kelly, Shepard; Turner, McKernon, Zufle, Greenhill (Hunter, 67), Maxwell (Herd, 65); Quinn (Begg, 73).

Rangers (4-4-2): Alexander; Argyriou, McCulloch, Hegarty, Wallace; Little (Aird, 78), Black, MacLeod (Crawford, 83), McKay; Shiels (Naismith, 68), Kyle.

Referee George Salmond.