RANGERS recorded their eleventh straight victory to stay top of the Championship table.
Two Martyn Waghorn goals gave Gers the win and added his 10th and 11th to his tally for the season.
Mark Warburton’s side limped through the first half at Dumbarton but pulled through with an improved showing in the second half to steal all three points.
Within seconds of kick-off Rangers had a fantastic chance to open the scoring as Spurs and Arsenal combined. Dominic Ball played a ball over the top to Gedion Zelalem, who was breaking through the middle into the box. He couldn’t get his outstretched leg to it in time to chip Mark Brown though and the keeper saved.
Dumbarton went close seven minutes later when Willie Gibson’s free-kick shaved the apex of Wes Foderingham’s goal to give Gers a shake. Andy Halliday had made the foul in a dangerous area to give the home side their first real chance.
In fact it was Dumbarton providing the real scares as they hit the upright with 13 minutes gone. It was Garry Fleming whose header cannoned off the inside of the post and it was hurriedly hoofed clear by the Rangers backline.
Nicky Law looked to react immediately as he went down the other end and tried to side foot the ball into the back of the net but Brown scooped his effort up with relative ease.
Gers were struggling to get a foothold in the game and going forward they were offering little. Kenny Miller rose highest on 27 minutes to nod towards goal but his header was too weak to make any impact on the Sons goal.
And with 32 minutes played Dumbarton had another chance to pull ahead, through a second header. Kevin Cawley played a quick one two to pass to Darren Barr at the back post and he aimed his effort into the top corner. It caused Foderingham to scamper and save high to his left to save his side’s blushes. And a few minutes later Gibson fired a low free-kick, from range at the keeper and he had to be alert once again to collect – Rangers were on the back foot.
The home side nearly outwitted the Light Blues when they played a clever free-kick out to Scott Brown and he fired over. Everyone had been expected it to be whipped in from the by-line but Brown launched his strike from distance with the defence unable to close him down quick enough.
It took James Tavernier, on the stroke of half-time, to bring the crowd alive and breathe some life into his side as he thundered a shot, from 30 yards, at goal. It certainly stung the palms of Brown as he tipped it up and over the bar. And a minute later with Zelalem hauled down for a free-kick on the edge of the area the right-back lined up. His curled effort pinged off the upright but certainly sent Gers in at the break in slightly better fettle.
But Mark Warburton’s side didn’t start the second period with any more impetus. The best they mustered in the opening 13 minutes of the half was a daisy cutter from well out by Lee Wallace. The manager looked to his bench to make the impact and made a double change with half an hour to play as Dean Shiels and Nathan Oduwa came on.
And just three minutes later Rangers had their opening in the form of a Martyn Waghorn strike. The striker cut in from the right and shot from 25 yards to sneak the ball under Brown and give Gers some hope in the game.
Mark Docherty had a terrific chance to equalise for Dumbarton on 72 minutes when Gibson back heeled to him but he passed it into Foderingham’s hands.
But Rangers broke away and within seconds had a penalty at the other end, Gregor Buchanan felling Kenny Miller from behind, with him in one on one against the keeper. The defender had a red card and Gers a spotkick – Waghorn fired it home in typical fashion to get his second of the game, within ten minutes of his first.
Warburton’s men had chances to add to their lead in the closing stages, most notably through Andy Halliday as he was denied wonderfully by Brown whose fingertips pushed the midfielder’s curling, 25-yard effort onto the junction of bar and post.
There was to be a late scare for the Gers though as Danny Wilson brought down Frazer Wright inside the area, and the home side had a penalty kick. Dominic Ball was booked for his protesting but he couldn’t do anything to change the decision and Fleming slotted home from the spot.
Gers had their own call when Oduwa was tripped on the edge of the area but a free-kick was the call, much to the protests of the Rangers bench.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier (Aird, 82’), Wilson, Ball, Wallace, Law (Shiels 61’), Halliday, Zelalem, Miller, Waghorn, McKay (Oduwa 61’)
Subs not used: Kelly, Thompson, Aird, Hardie, Kiernan
Goals: Waghorn 64’ 74’
Yellows: Wallace 61’
DUMBARTON: Brown, Docherty (Waters, 83’), Buchanan Cawley (Wright 74’), Gallagher, Fleming, Gibson, Barr, Routledge, Brown, Brophy (Kirkpatrick 54’)
Subs not used: McCallum, Water, Hopkins, Ewings
Yellows: Brophy 37’, Fleming 74’, Gibson 79’, Routlegdge, 41’
Reds: Buchanan 72’
Goals: Fleming 90+1’