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Rangers 2 Peterhead 0: In the home comfort zone

IT was Remembrance Day at Ibrox, but this one won't live especially long in the memory.

Lee McCulloch heads Rangers in front with his 17th goal of the campaign
Lee McCulloch heads Rangers in front with his 17th goal of the campaign

It had taken a last-minute Andy Little equaliser to deny Peterhead all three points at Balmoor on the opening day of the campaign but the rematch became another routine home league win for Rangers.

The visitors hit the bar twice in the opening period but the game was settled by a Lee McCulloch goal in the first half and one from Lee Wallace in the second.

Pre-match, the crowd were entertained by a poppy display, a spot of abseiling from the roof of the Govan stand, a friendly pitch invasion by the armed forces at half-time and firing of an L118 artillery gun either side of a minute's silence.

It made a change to see a real howitzer on the field, rather than a metaphorical one. Peterhead, clad in white, red and blue strips that made them look a bit like Rangers B, could have silenced the huge Ibrox crowd of 48,407 within just six minutes.

Ian Black nudged the ball back in the direction of Neil Alexander, but only succeeded in setting up Rory McAllister for a run on goal. Amid confusion as a linesman wrongly flagged for offside and was overruled by referee Craig Charleston, McAllister could only strike the frame of the goal and the danger was eventually cleared.

"I am not going to give him that excuse because he didn't see the flag," said McAllister's manager, Jim McInally. "We should have scored first, it was a bad miss from Rory. To be fair he usually scores them, nine times out of 10 he puts them away."

At the other end, Little fired wide with an enterprising effort on the turn, then tugged a relatively simple left-foot finish wide after an errant pass-back. Dean Shiels robbed Ryan Strachan before firing wide. The Ibrox side then suffered their second escape, Strachan levering over an angled free-kick that eluded Alexander and came back off the face of the bar.

The PA system at Ibrox plays the theme from Superman whenever Lee McCulloch scores and once again he flew to the rescue at a time of need. The 34-year-old, used in central defence due to Emilson Cribari and Ross Perry being injured – the latter could be facing five weeks out after a hernia operation – popped up just before half-time, running unchallenged across the box before nodding in Barrie McKay's corner for his 17th goal of the campaign.

Peterhead almost levelled midway through the second half, but McAllister could only deflect a dangerous Strachan delivery into the hands of Alexander.

Just when nerves were starting to build, Wallace, an impressive performer all day upon his return from a dead leg, latched on to a clever Ian Black free kick to sweep in the low shot which clinched the match. Shiels hit a post late on, and Rangers manager Ally McCoist professed himself happy with the day's endeavours.

After the game, he applauded Rangers' offer to help Hearts by making an early payment of money they owe on Wallace's transfer. It would have been a reduced sum and the Tynecastle club have declined, but McCoist said: "Hearts are integral to Scottish football. They've been a massive part of the game for a long number of years and we don't want that to change.'

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