RANGERS returned to winning ways this evening with an action-packed 4-1 win at the Superseal Stadium.
Declan John grabbed a first-half double while there were also goals for Daniel Candeias and Graham Dorrans. Wes Foderingham saved a penalty although Ryan Jack saw red in the second half. The result was however Rangers’ biggest-ever victory over Accies at their modern Lanarkshire home, and their biggest league victory over them at any away venue since 1965.
Gers have always looked to make strong starts in their matches this season, but Hamilton dealt them a blow in that regard, grabbing a shock lead inside the first minute.
Rakish Bingham picked the ball up in midfield and made a charge for goal, evading a few challenges to get into the area. Wes Foderingham made a good save from his eventual shot, but he could parry the ball only as far as the incoming Danny Redmond, and he slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Gers’ response from there was decent, getting into good areas to cross the ball into the middle, but the final product always seemed to evade attackers in the middle.
With 21 minutes on the clock, however, they were level thanks to Declan John’s first goal for the club.
Capitalising on some loose play in the middle of the park, Graham Dorrans sprayed a ball out to the left for John who kept running and running before eventually blasting a terrific right-foot drive into the near corner from around 20-yards out.
Four minutes later, it got even better for both John and Rangers, as he grabbed his second of the night.
Combining well with Josh Windass, the Englishman found the Welshman with a superb ball through two defenders to send him into the box. From there, he skinned Alex Gogic and managed to squeeze the ball past Jamieson and into the back of the net.
The Light Blues were rampant all of a sudden, as almost straight from kick-off, Ross McCrorie played a quite wonderful ball over the home defence and into the path of Alfredo Morelos. For once however, the Columbian’s finishing let him down with Jamieson making the save.
Gers weren’t to pay for that though, as a further minute on, incredibly it was 3-1.
This time, it was Graham Dorrans with an excellent ball over the top of the defence, picking out Daniel Candeias in space in the box, and he fired firmly into the far corner and ran straight to gaffer Caixinha to celebrate.
It was an amazing swing in the game, but the two goal lead was preserved only by a smart Foderingham save from a long-range Redmond drive following a slack ball out of defence from Gers.
Into the second half, and Rangers thought they had made it 4-1 within six minutes of the restart, although their goal was disallowed with Carlos Pena adjudged to have used his hand in forcing a Daniel Candeias cross into the net.
The three-goal cushion would have been nice for Rangers at that stage, particularly given Ryan Jack saw a second yellow card less-than a minute later for a foul on Greg Docherty
The dismissal forced Caixinha into withdrawing Carlos Pena for Jason Holt – and some typical Holt energy won a penalty for Gers and the chance to close out the game not long after coming on.
A long ball was played down to the left of the box, with Gogic seemingly having the simple task of playing it back to Jamieson to clear.
Instead, Holt had made up over 50-yards, and nipped in ahead of Gogic only to be clipped by the defender for a clear spot-kick.
Captain Graham Dorrans strode up and confidently chipped the ball over Jamieson to surely tie-up all three points for the Gers.
18 minutes from time, Hamilton were then awarded a penalty of their own with McCrorie bringing down substitute Botti Biabi.
Rakish Bingham stepped up to take, and placed the ball to Foderingham’s left, only to find the towering stopper there with a smart save to deny him.
Indeed, Foderingham’s personal evening got even better a few minutes later, tipping a Scott Boyd header over the bar while at full stretch.
Despite their man-disadvantage, Rangers did well to hold on to see the game out relatively comfortably, and go forth to next week’s friendly match with Benfica in good fettle.
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL: Jamieson, Skondras, McMann, Tomas, Imrie, Docherty, Bingham, Redmond (Donati, 62), Crawford (Boyd, 76), Gogic, Longridge (Biabi, 63).
SUBS NOT USED: Fulton, Lyon, Hughes, Cunningham.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, McCrorie, John; Candeias (Dalcio, 90), Jack, Dorrans, Windass; Pena (Holt, 55), Morelos (Herrera, 74).
SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Hodson, A Wilson, Nemane.
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas