Rangers thump Hamilton in first-half rout
Steven Gerrard’s side eased to victory with Jermain Defoe among the scorers
Rangers’ Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game during the Scottish Premiership win over Hamilton. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Hamilton Academical 0 Rangers 5
Rangers finally found their shooting boots without the suspended Alfredo Morelos as a first-half rout helped them to a 5-0 Ladbrokes Premiership victory at Hamilton.
Steven Gerrard’s side had not won any of the five previous matches which Morelos missed through suspension this season and drew a blank in the first two games of his current three-match ban.
But goals from Ryan Jack, Jermain Defoe and Scott Arfield plus James Tavernier’s penalty made the second half a formality at the Hope Stadium.
Substitute Kyle Lafferty added a fifth in the 88th minute with his first league goal in five months.
Defoe came in for Morelos after the Colombian hit four goals in a 5-0 William Hill Scottish Cup replay win over Kilmarnock on Wednesday before dropping out to complete the league ban he received for his latest clash with Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna.
The England international was handed an early chance as Allan McGregor’s kick-out and two passes left Accies completely exposed after Tony Andreu had flighted a free-kick into the Rangers goalkeeper’s hands.
Gary Woods made a good stop but Accies continued to leave themselves far too open and Rangers scored twice in 60 seconds to set up a comfortable afternoon.
Jack was allowed all the time and space he needed after receiving Ryan Kent’s pass 25 yards out to curl into the far corner in the 16th minute and Defoe then converted a free header from close range after being picked out by Daniel Candeias.
Hamilton had a chance to get back in it when Joe Worrall ricocheted an attempted clearance off fellow centre-back Connor Goldson. Andreu set up Reegan Mimnaugh but the 17-year-old produced a weak effort when handed the chance to mark his first start with a goal. His shot was blocked and McGregor charged down George Oakley’s header.
It was soon game over as Arfield made it three goals in eight minutes when he steered the ball into the top corner from 22 yards.
Rangers got their fourth in the 43rd minute after Ziggy Gordon went in late on Kent as the winger cut the ball back. Referee Nick Walsh pointed to the spot and Tavernier sent Woods the wrong way.
Woods denied Candeias and Defoe on counter-attacks as Rangers sought a fifth in a predictably low-key second half.
Hamilton rarely troubled their visitors although Worrall might have been penalised for a high boot on Oakley inside his penalty box, and Darian MacKinnon needlessly strayed offside before finishing off a counter-attack for the hosts.
Lafferty came close on a number of occasions before slotting home a square pass from Candeias.