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Clyde 1 Rangers 4: Young guns having some fun - at last

A post-match chinwag involving Rangers players these days tends to resemble a Boys' Brigade display.

Andrew Little scores his second goal of the game
Andrew Little scores his second goal of the game

A fresh-faced product of the Murray Park production line is sent marching towards the waiting press corps and you half expect the chosen recruit to stand to attention, salute and burst into the Vesper instead of trotting out a few football-related quotes for the assembled scribblers.

Rangers' own boys' brigade has remained sure and steadfast during a financially ravaging period for the Ibrox club which has led to the young guns being thrown in to bolster the salvage operation. Fraser Aird is a member of that particular company and, having signed a new five-year contract, it looks like he'll be parading about in the light blue for quite some time.

"The boss [Ally McCoist] said he wanted to make a commitment to us," said Aird, a substitute during Rangers' commanding 4-1 victory over Clyde on Saturday. "It shows a lot of faith in us and hopefully we're in the plans for the next few years as Rangers work their way back to where they're supposed to be.

"I'm a big Rangers fan so I'm delighted to be part of that journey. I've been here for two years and probably seen things at their worst. I'm looking forward to helping the club get back to the top. To be part of that would be a big achievement in my career. Setbacks are part of football. That's just what we have to overcome but I think most of the players are convinced we're on the right track."

Aird is clearly a true blue but when it comes to international matters, there remain some shades of grey. Born in Toronto to his Scottish parents, who emigrated to Canada in 1987, the 18-year-old is eligible to play for both. He has already made a handful of appearances for Scotland's under-17 side and was away on an under-18s training camp last week with Ricky Sbragia's national squad.

Colin Miller, the Hamilton-born defender who captained the Canadian national team and is now in his second stint as interim head coach, has been keeping a keen eye on Aird's blossoming talents. So will it be the Saltire or the Maple Leaf in which he drapes himself? "Everyone in my family is from Scotland so you could say I'm Scottish," said Aird, who scored his first goal for Rangers in the win over Queen's Park at Hampden in December. "At the end of the day it's my decision who I play for. Canada have invited me into the last couple of squads but it's a long way to go. Speaking to the gaffer at Rangers, he doesn't want me going away for that long.

"If I keep playing in the first team at Rangers then hopefully one of the two countries will come in and make a move. My dad's said it's up to me but he'd probably like me to play for Scotland. My mum would like me to play for Canada. We'll see what happens."

By the time Aird entered the fray on Saturday, Rangers were winding down. Three goals in the first half had them easing to an eighth successive away win, a run which began in October with a 2-0 victory over Clyde at Broadwood.

Jim Duffy, the Clyde manager, had made the obvious observation afterwards that Rangers "are miles ahead of us in every department, from their playing staff to every other resource".

This Goliath goes up against a variety of Davids on a weekly basis and it is hardly an earth-shattering revelation to find them 22 points clear at the top of the Irn-Bru Third Division. A job still needs to be done, of course, and Rangers, who put four past Queen's Park the previous weekend, continue to roll up their sleeves and put in a professional shift.

Andy Little's neat finish in the seventh minute set the tone for a dominant display, while David Templeton's spectacular brace sprinkled the contest with some class. His 30-yard piledriver to make it 3-0 as half-time loomed, after Little had doubled the tally, would have raised the roof in any arena, while his angled left-footed finish early in the second half, after neatly engineering some space in the box, illustrated his two- footedness. Clyde managed a counter-blow when Kevin Watt prodded home just after the resumption but the Bully Wee had been well and truly bullied into submission.

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