That alone was enough to limit the worth of Ayr United's organisation and full-blooded approach, and it is becoming second nature to Ally McCoist's team to grind out results. "It was a typical away day in the league for us," the Rangers manager said afterwards, but during this season that at least means another victory.
Rangers are racking up points, along with the occasional memorable intervention. Lewis MacLeod's overhead kick for the second goal was brilliantly executed, although the vintage moment was seeing Somerset Park packed and in full voice. Almost 9000 fans thronged into the ramshackle old ground in a way that only history could recall, but there was a contrast in moods between the home and away fans. Somerset Boab, a local entertainer and charity fundraiser, sang three of his songs before kick-off, including "The Moffat's On Fire" in tribute to Michael, the Ayr United attacker of that name.
Moments before kick-off, the away fans behind one of the goals unfurled a series of banners. The collection made a powerful statement: among the banners were ones that read, "Mather Out", "Stockbridge Out", "Thieves Out", "John Greig - Legend" and "Sack The Board".
Off-field issues tend to dominate Rangers more than opponents are able to on the field. Ayr United were spiky competitors, though, and they contained the visitors by keeping them busy as much as stringing five players across midfield. Michael Donald thought he had scored when he clipped Moffat's cross goalwards, only for the ball to bounce off a post and out to safety while most of the home fans were celebrating.
"It probably went to their plan in the first half," said McCoist. "These games are difficult and the opposition are full of spirit and commitment and they've got a bigger crowd than they'd normally get for a league match. I don't think by any stretch of the imagination we were great in the first half but I thought we upped it in the second."
The faint-hearted could not be accommodated, either. There was a physical aggression to much of the play - Bilel Mohsni managed one header from a free-kick while Kevin Kyle had an arm wrapped around his neck - and Arnold Peralta was roundly booed by the home fans when he feigned injury. The boisterousness spilled over, and chants of "cheat" were thrown at the player as he stood with the physio on the sidelines. What appeared to be part of a sausage roll was also hurled at him from the main stand.
The brutal nature of some challenges carried over into the second half, with Jon Daly in particular being battered around. The edginess brought some intensity to the encounter, but it quickly dissipated when Rangers scored. Ayr were too slow to react when Black clipped a quick free kick over the defensive line to Andy Little, whose touch then delivered the ball to Mohsni. The defender spun round sharply before lashing a shot between goalkeeper David Hutton and an upright.
"He's been great," McCoist said of the defender. "The way he plays the game, you always know there's going to be a talking point with him and he's a fans' favourite. He likes to go forward, he is certainly powerful in both boxes and he is a goal threat."
The goal was a release. The game suddenly opened out, and Rangers benefitted since it allowed their sense of adventure room to be expressed. Only three minutes later, Peralta's corner was headed on by Mohsni and MacLeod's overhead kick sent the ball crashing into the net off the underside of the bar. "It's dangerous play," said Roberts. "Someone can overhead kick the ball in the box at head height? I was disappointed with some decisions."
Lee Wallace ought to have added a third, but shot over from close range. The game petered out, although the Ayr United fans still found time for some cutting humour. "Save The Board", they sang at the opposition fans as the final whistle approached.