The simplicity of this game for Rangers was its most rewarding feature. Some assignments have been a chore this season, and the team has often been riven with self-doubt, but their sheer dominance over Alloa was reviving. The emphatic scoreline was merely an accurate reflection of the home side's command and the ruthless streak that suddenly re-emerged in this Scottish Cup third-round tie.
"Rangers teams of the past would go for it when they smelled blood," said Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager. "I'd cut these players some slack, since some of them are just beginning to play first-team football, but that was clinical." It was a measure of his side's accomplishment that McCoist could indulge in some debate about whether the sixth or seventh goal was the best.
There were some impressive finishes, and Barrie McKay's final two goals were certainly the most outstanding – a fierce dipping shot from 20 yards then a burst through the middle, deft control and a slick finish beyond Scott Bain, the Alloa goalkeeper. But it was the most untidy and fortunate of the seven that carried the greater impact. Less than two minutes had been played when Dean Shiels' effort from inside the penalty area took a deflection on its way past Bain, and any hopes Alloa had of taking advantage of Rangers' vulnerable mood were dashed.
"I thought we had a chance," said Paul Hartley, the Alloa manager. "But I've no complaints, the best team on the day won. We didn't play the way we can. The team performance went badly wrong and you could see the players' heads go down." Shiels added a second after being played through by Lee McCulloch, then the roles were reversed for the third.
Alloa were briefly adventurous at the beginning of the second half, and McCoist was animated on the touchline as he demanded a renewed determination from his players. McCulloch and Shiels were making the most of their partnership up front, and combined again for McCulloch to score his second from close range, then Shiels linked up with Robbie Crawford for the teenage substitute to sweep the ball past Bain.
As if to compound Alloa's misfortunes, James Doyle was sent off before the end for throwing a punch at Chris Hegarty after the pair had tangled on the ground. "He shouldn't have done that," said Hartley wearily.
Rangers (4-4-2): Alexander; Argyriou (Crawford, 54), Perry, Emilson Cribari (Naismith, 72), Hegarty; Little, Black, Macleod, Aird (McKay, 61); Shiels, McCulloch.
Alloa Athletic (4-4-2): Bain; Doyle, Gordon, Marr, Meggatt; Simmons (Grehan, 55), R McCord, Young, Holmes; Low (Docherty, 74), Cawley (Thomson, 79).
Referee Iain Brines.
Man of the match: Shiels (Rangers).