Rangers in market for more forwards

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The Independent Online
Weekend speculation that Rangers are in the market for a first- class striker should be enough to send a shudder through every club in Scotland, writes David McKinney.

Already the seven-times champions are Britain's top league scorers with 55 goals, a total which includes the seven they rapped past third-placed Hibs at Ibrox at Christmas. Hat-tricks from Alex Cleland, a defender, and Ian Ferguson, a midfield player, helped Rangers to a 10-1 win over non-League Keith on Saturday in the Tennent's Scottish Cup third round, yet the weekend stories in the tabloid press insist that Alan Shearer and Dennis de Nooijer are targets for Walter Smith.

A move for De Nooijer might prove embarrassing for Celtic, who had chased the Sparta Rotterdam striker for several weeks before losing interest. With the departures of Mark Hateley and Oleg Salenko, and injury continuing to dog Ally McCoist, Rangers would be anxious to add to their strikeforce.

On Saturday, however, they mauled Keith, racing to a 4-0 lead within 20 minutes to serve notice that Cup shock seekers would have to look elsewhere. Six goals behind at half-time, the small club did not stand a chance. The reward for Rangers is another away draw, to the winners of the Clyde- Dundee third-round match.

The weather restricted the third round to five matches, with Kilmarnock producing the best result, a 2-0 win against Hibernian at Easter Road, courtesy of Paul Wright, who has now scored eight in 10 games.

Raith Rovers won 3-0 against Queen's Park to set up a potentially explosive encounter with Celtic, the side they beat in last year's Coca-Cola Cup final.

Forfar were the other winners on the day, beating Ross County 3-0, while Caledonian Thistle and East Fife will have to fight out a replay after drawing 1-1.

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