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Rangers 4 Dumbarton 1: McCoist denial Crystal clear

ALLY McCoist could still end up as a top- flight manager, even if it is in Scotland rather than England.

Nicky Clark scores Rangers' third goal during yesterday's defeat of Dumbarton                     Photograph: Getty
Nicky Clark scores Rangers' third goal during yesterday's defeat of Dumbarton Photograph: Getty

He gave speculation linking him with the managerial vacancy at Crystal Palace predictably short shrift on a day when his Rangers team finally posted a performance and result commensurate with their status as pre-season promotion favourites.

Having struggled against Hearts and Falkirk in their first two Championship matches, the Ibrox side finally found some rhythm. Bolstered by their 8-1 Petrofac Training Cup win over Clyde, they were again clinical against another part-time side. The margin of the victory should have been greater but McCoist was satisfied enough.

"I'm absolutely happy with the performance, but annoyed we didn't keep a clean sheet," he said. "I thought the football was of a good standard, we created a lot of chances. We hit the post a couple of times in the first half and scored good goals. The second was particularly good."

And what of the Palace link? McCoist did his best Geoffrey Boycott impression with the straightest of bats. "There's been no contact at all," he said. "I suppose it's flattering but I don't really know where it came from. I have a job to do here."

Dumbarton provided obdurate opposition but Rangers ground them down. Lee McCulloch ran unimpeded to the front post to volley home Lewis Macleod's corner for their 15th-minute opener.

On the half-hour McCulloch teed up Darren McGregor, who had rampaged forward from right-back, to lash a shot into the net. A third goal followed after 54 minutes. David Templeton fed Kris Boyd who in turn supplied Nicky Clark. The striker took his time before burying a low shot beyond Dumbarton goalkeeper Daniel Rogers.

A fourth arrived in unfortunate circumstances 14 minutes from time. Chris Turner got himself in a fankle at a Rangers corner, somehow heading the ball down and then booting it into his own net in his desperation to clear. Boyd headed in Arnold Peralta's cross minutes later but it was ruled out for offside.

This was Dumbarton's first game at Ibrox for more than 20 years and it is not one they will remember with any great fondness. A promising start threw up a half-chance for Colin Nish - his volley was easily saved by Steve Simonsen - but once Rangers went in front the visitors rarely looked like hauling themselves back into it. "I'm disappointed with the goals we lost, the first one in particular was a shocker," said manager Ian Murray. "But overall I have no complaints about the scoreline."

The small band of travelling fans at least had something to cheer nine minutes from time when the hapless Bilel Mohsni headed Archie Campbell's cross past Simonsen.

Both managers felt Mohsni was perhaps fortunate to be still on the pitch by then, his foul on Scott Agnew just outside the penalty box deemed worthy of only a yellow card rather than a red.

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