RANGERS surged to a second five goal victory in five days as they demolished play-off hopefuls Queen of the South on their own ground.
Martyn Waghorn got a double from the penalty spot and Andy Halliday, Barrie McKay and Jason Holt provided Gers other goals – Queens were down to 10 men after just two minutes of the second-half.
The victory maintains Mark Warburton’s immaculate unbeaten run as manager and sends Rangers back to the top Championship table.
The game was actually slow to start and failed to come alive until the 16th minute when Barrie McKay saw the forward run of Lee Wallace on the overlap. The full-back got to the by-line but he couldn’t make the most of his freedom inside the box to take advantage and he dragged his angled shot wide.
Two minutes later the inform James Tavernier was looking for another to add to his blossoming tally. He let fly from 25 yards out and his fizzing effort bounced just past the upright thanks to a deflection en route.
Jason Holt had a guilt edged chance in the 25th minute after Kenny Miller provided for him. Rob Kiernan had found the striker with a lovely ball and when it reached Holt his strike looked promising but the Queens defence were quick to ground to stop it dead.
Moments later the home team were down the other end making a chance of their own but Jordan Marshall could only send his strike over Wes Foderingham’s head and into the sea of red, white and blue in the away end.
Rangers were building momentum and on 27 minutes Halliday opened the scoring. McKay was on the run with him down the left channel and fed a cute ball into the midfielder as he skipped into the six-yard box. He turned his body and cooly slotted his shot into the bottom corner of Robbie Thomson’s net.
As the celebrations subsided Lee Wallace was forced to hobble off with a knee injury and make way for Dominic Ball at left-back. Gers were then immediately tested down the left when Alex Harris shuffled at the defence and sent a good shot at Foderingham, which he easily gathered.
On the stroke of half-time Ryan Conroy squandered a perfect chance to grab an equaliser when he burst into the box. He should have gone it alone with just Foderingham to beat but chose to square the ball with no Queens’ player pushing into the area and Gers cleared their lines as the whistle sounded for the break.
Just two minutes into the second period the Doonhamers were reduced to 10 men after Derek Lyle and Kiernan came head to head and Lyle nudged his forehead towards the centre-half. Bobby Madden referred with his assistant before showing the number nine the red card for an adjudged head butt. It had come after a ferocious period which saw Gedion Zelalem felled in the middle of the park and then Tavernier tangle with Lyle. It was that altercation that led to Kiernan and Lyle’s showdown and his ultimate dismissal.
On 51 minutes the referee was busy once again as Andrew Dowie clipped Ball down in the area and Madden pointed to the spot. Martyn Waghorn duly stepped up and powered the penalty past Thomson to double Gers lead.
Aidan Smith had a big moment to peg one back for Queens with them down to 10 men with 58 minutes on the clock. Jordan Marshall floated a ball on to his head but, unmarked in the six-yard box, he couldn’t produce the power to nod it past the keeper.
And just a minute later Holt had made it 3-0 for Mark Warburton’s side as he poked the ball home at the near post. Zelalem ball had threaded him in with a sweet ball and the keeper block Holt’s initial effort but he stretched to make sure the spilt ball was carried over the line.
The home side could have got on the score sheet just a minute after Gers third. Foderingham could only paw away Smith’s daisy cutter and the loose ball could have easily been gobbled up but the chance went begging.
But Rangers were to extend their lead when Barrie McKay notched his first league goal of the season and his side’s fourth of the afternoon with 25 minutes still left to play. Miller played a ball over the top to Waghorn and the goalscorer released McKay who dinked his effort over the keeper.
Warburton’s side had another penalty and another goal with 75 minutes played, after Halliday fired a free-kick into the box and Iain Russell halted it with his hand. Waghorn was the man to step up again and this time he placed his penalty the other side of the keeper but with similar muscle to send the net bulging.
Queens did though register one for their efforts with 10 minutes left on the clock. Smith broke free and took Kiernan with him as he powered into the box. Foderingham retreated and the forward managed to hold off Kiernan to slot it under the keeper’s body and make it 5-1.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier (Aird 71’), Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace (Ball 32’), Halliday, Holt, Zelalem, McKay, Miller (Oduwa 66’), Waghorn.
Subs not used: Kelly, Law, Shiels, Hardie.
Goals: Halliday 27’, Waghorn 52’ 75’, Holt 59’, McKay 65’
Yellows: Tavernier 47’, Kiernan 88’
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Thomson, Dowie, Brownlie, Higgins, Harris, Millar (Hutton 66’), Lyle, Conroy (Smith 55’), Russell, Jacobs (Pickard 66’), Marshall.
Subs not used: Atkinson, Kidd, Moxon, Heffernan
Goals: Smith 80’
Yellows: Dowie 52’, Jacobs 54’, Pickard 74’, Hutton 70’, Russell 75’, Brownlie 87’
Red: Lyle 48’