Rangers motor on

Last updated : 31 January 2010 By Southside Johnny
Rangers 3 (Davis 18, Fleck 56, Whittaker 62) Falkirk 0

Attendance 45,907

Rangers retained their ten-point lead at the summit of the SPL with a comfortable 3-0 win over Falkirk at Ibrox Stadium this afternoon.

Manager Walter Smith made two changes from Paisley with Kevin Thomson and John Fleck replacing Kirk Broadfoot and the injured Kenny Miller.

The game took some time to come to life - Danny Wilson's header from a Sasa Papac cross being turned wide by visiting goalkeeper Robert Olejnik in sixteen minutes.

Two minutes later however the opening goal arrived when Steve Davis found the net with a superbly-flighted twenty-yard free-kick.

Falkirk were not completely out of it however - Vitor Lima breaking through the centre of the home defence in 26 minutes to release Scott Arfield through on goal, his low shot being held by Allan McGregor.

A drab first-half ended with the Ibrox men leading by that single goal - but two more clear-cut chances were spurned at the start of the second, firstly when Kyle Lafferty headed wide from a Davis cross then Nacho Novo fired over from a Steven Whittaker cutback.

Rangers had switched Novo and Fleck at the interval in an attempt to inject more pace up front - and it paid off in 56 minutes when Lafferty and Davis split the Bairns defence down the right, the midfielder's cutback finding Fleck at the back post who squeezed the ball home from a tight angle.

Jack Compton tested McGregor with a 25-yard drive that the 'keeper held on the hour - but two minutes later it was 3-0 when Whittaker turned on a quickly-taken Davis free-kick to race through and stroke the ball into the corner of the net.

Steven Naismith replaced Novo immediately thereafter, and two minutes later Steven Smith substituted for Papac.

The visitors had not entirely given up the ghost - Arfield's 25-yard drive being held by McGregor in 78 minutes.

The action was soon back to the other end however - Smith playing a one-two with Davis before seeing his low shot pushed wide by Olejnik five minutes later.

There was a late appearance for Andrew Little when he replaced Lafferty.

The final whistle soon afterwards allowed Walter Smith to pay tribute to 'Man of the Match' Steve Davis:

"He's been doing well for us for ages. It was a terrific free-kick for the opening goal. If there's a better player in the country just now then I haven't seen him. He's been doing well since he came to us."

RANGERS McGregor; Whittaker, Weir, Wilson, Papac (Smith 64); Davis, McCulloch, Thomson, Novo (Naismith 62); Lafferty (Little 88), Fleck
UNUSED SUBS Alexander, Broadfoot, Ness. Wylde

ST. MIRREN Olejnik; McNamara, Barr, McLean, Twaddle; Flynn (Finnigan 77), Lima, Healy, Arfield, Compton (O'Brien 64); Showunmi
UNUSED SUBS Andrews, Bullen, Moutinho, Stewart, Duffy

REFEREE Crawford Allan