WITH the sound of fireworks ringing out around the stadium Rangers’ search for some on the pitch came to little.
The young side feel victim to four Hamilton goals, two either side of the break – it is worth noting that eight of Gers starting line-up were aged 17 or under.
The evening provided a steep learning curve for the side Ian Durrant was forced to field due to two games being played in three days.
It had been fourth against third and the result saw Accies pull three points away from Rangers and increase their goal difference on the Light Blues.
Just two minutes were gone when Rangers found themselves a goal down. Tom Lang seemingly unnerved at the back skewed his clearance short and Steven Boyd spied Robby McCrorie off his line as he collected the loose ball. He looped the ball over the head of the keeper to give Hamilton the lead.
Five minutes later the visitors could have made it two as McCrorie was forced to make a low save from Ryan Tierney. The middleman managed to wriggled free and get a strike away after Boyd had squared to him.
Rangers burst into action for the first time nine minutes in as Andrew Dallas burst into the box from the left but he was brought down before he could pull the trigger. And a couple of minutes later captain for the night, Fraser Aird, planted a good effort and it swerved towards goal. The Canadian had added a little too much height though and it shaved the bar.
Jamie Brandon was having a frustrating time up top and was picking up half chances as he tried to get his side back into the game. On 22 minutes he spotted the keeper off his line and tried one from distance but he had to watch as his effort went over the bar.
Hamilton should have had their second when Jason Krones pulled down former Olympiakos forward Alex D’Acol for a free-kick. McCrorie was forced into an impressive double save from the dead ball. Daniel Redmond played in D’Acol who went struck first and then somehow Tierney blazed over with the goal gapping.
Just minutes later the visiting youngsters did have their second as Boyd doubled his tally for the evening. Tierney raced away as he sprung the offside trap and Boyd first pinged one off the bar from the square ball. But he made no mistake second time around as he gobbled up the rebound to fire home.
It didn’t get any better for Rangers into the second period – seven minutes into it and they found themselves three behind. Tierney finishing from no distance at all over the beaten McCrorie.
Brandon was still digging away and made a superb jinking run into the area from the left channel four minutes after his side had conceded again. But he was brought down in full stride before he could take aim.
The game was getting away from the Gers youngsters and McCrorie had to be alive 17 minutes from time, when he bravely got down to save at the feet of Cunningham. He couldn’t do the same six minutes later though as Boyd turned provider to play in substitute Marc Kelly. He cooly slipped the ball under the keeper to give Accies their fourth.
Just two minutes later it was the other McCrorie twin who was called into saving action, Ross putting in a last ditch clearance to hook the ball around the post. It looked more than likely to be creeping over the line before his evasive action.
As the final ten minutes kicked in Jordan Gibson looked lively and pulled a shot from outside the area just a tad wide. And then he was denied by a superb saving tackle from Hamilton’s Jack Simpson as he skipped into the box and shaped to fire home.
RANGERS: McCrorie (GK), Aird (C) (Burt 63’), Bradley, Dykes, Lang (Ross McCrorie 70’), Krones, Jeffries, Barjonas, Gibson, Brandon, Dallas (Ashmore 63’)
Subs not used: Wright (GK), King, Roberts, Lyon