RANGERS under-20s turned in a storming performance at Falkirk tonight to thrash the home side and return to winning ways.
The game began at a frantic and unrelenting pace, and after surviving an early melee inside their own box which ended with Kevin O’Hara firing over the bar, Rangers profited from a Cameron Eadie slip at the other end to take the lead.
30-yards out from goal over on the left-hand side, Eadie tumbled over the ball allowing the ever-lively Liam Burt to pick-up. He spurted forward and slid a perfect ball into the middle for Scott Roberts to tap home from close range.
It was the start Ian Durrant’s boys were looking for after a disappointing recent run, although they had Robby McCrorie to thank minutes later for keeping them ahead as he produced a superb block low to his near-post to deny Reis Peggie when he met a Taylor Evans cross that was missed entirely by the ‘Gers defence.
The game settled afterwards before bursting back into life in the 18th minute as Mekhi McLeod claimed his first Rangers goal.
Picking up the ball in midfield, the youngster signed from Wolves burst beyond what was an exceptionally high line and fired low beyond the reach on the oncoming Falkirk ‘keeper Lewis McMinn.
It was all Rangers, and it wasn’t long before they put the game beyond the reach of the home side, taking a 3-0 lead with just 23 minutes on the clock.
Scott Roberts chased down Eadie who made another error and gifted the ball to the Rangers attacker before he played a neat one-two with Jordan Thompson before slamming the ball beyond the reach of McMinn from the edge of the area.
It was quite incredible stuff, and the evening was to get even better for Rangers as they produced a fabulous counter-attack from a Falkirk corner kick.
The ball-in to the edge of the area was headed away by Tom Lang to the lurking Liam Burt in midfield. He passed infield to McLeod who played an inch-perfect ball through to Roberts who had darted from his own box and he continued his run forward beyond the stretched Bairns’ defence before rounding McMinn inside the area and slamming the ball into the back of the net for a superb hat-trick.
Falkirk threatened to hit back on the stroke of half-time from a free-kick, and although the effort from Scott Shepherd was off the ball, it broke to Cameron Blues who slammed the ball goalwards only to see Robby McCrorie there again with another superb stop, this time low to his left to deny him.
Into the second half, and on the end of a heavy loss, Falkirk very much played a game of damage limitation, denying Rangers the chance on a number of occasions to extend their lead further.
Scott Roberts almost had a fourth as he clipped a shot towards the back post which dropped just to the outside of the upright from an acute angle while Liam Burt turned magnificently on the edge of the box to go through one-on-one with McMinn but his shot was to the wrong side of the ‘keeper and slipped wide.
At the other end, the home side pulled a goal back through Taylor Evans slamming effort from just inside the box after he met a Peggie cross with a little over 20 minutes left on the clock.
But 4-1 it finished, and Rangers move on to play Partick Thistle at Dumbarton on Monday at 6pm.
FALKIRK: McMinn, Finlayson, Gallacher, Blues, Eadie, Johnson, Evans, Peggie, Shepherd, O’Hara, Dunne.
SUBS: Deniz, Maybury, Maxwell, Taylor
RANGERS: Robby McCrorie, Sinnamon, Mills, Barjonas, Lang, Ross McCrorie, McLeod, Dykes (Brandon, 71), Roberts (Jeffries, 78), Thompson, Burt (Lyon, 62).
SUBS NOT USED: Wright, Ashmore, Brownlie, Gibson.