Whittaker continually poured forward as Rangers dominated
Two goals each from Steven Whittaker and Kris Boyd gave Rangers a comfortable win over Hamilton at Ibrox.
Whittaker slammed home the opener on 19 minutes and Boyd's simple header doubled Rangers' lead before half-time.
Derek Lyle's free-kick almost pulled one back for Hamilton before Boyd turned in Rangers' third.
A curling strike by Whittaker on 67 minutes put the home side further ahead only for Mark McLaughlin to head a late consolation for Hamilton.
Hamilton, who included debutants Gary Mason and Kevin Welsh in their starting line-up, were caught out by a long ball over the top by Pedro Mendes as Steven Davis got beyond the Accies defence early on.
The Northern Ireland midfielder controlled the ball and had his first shot blocked by goalkeeper Tomas Cerny before eventually firing the rebound into the side netting.
Davis drew another save from Cerny before creating the opening goal.
Whittaker raced onto the low through ball in behind Luis Rubiales and confidently slotted past Cerny.
Minutes later, Lee McCulloch wanted too much time to control a chipped free-kick by Mendes, allowing Martin Canning to clear deep inside the penalty area.
Rangers extended their lead when Sasa Papac's cross was deflected high into the air and Boyd hovered at the back-post to nod into the far corner of the net.
Hamilton continued to come under pressure from a determined Rangers attack and McLaughlin was adjudged to have won the ball when Kenny Miller went down in the box shortly before the forward fired over from a promising position.
The hosts started the second half as they had finished the first and Madjid Bougherra blazed over at the back post after deftly controlling Miller's cross.
Hamilton won a disputed free-kick on the edge of the Rangers box following Bougherra's challenge on Rubiales and Derek Lyle forced Allan McGregor to turn the ball away with fierce near-post drive.
Accies continued to try and carve a way back into the match and James McArthur's driven cross was clawed away by McGregor, who then tipped the ball beyond the reach of substitute Leon Knight.
But Rangers put the result beyond doubt in the 65th minute when Naismith received Davis' intelligent pass and cut back for Boyd to stroke into the empty net.
Whittaker then grabbed his second when he played a one-two with Davis and sent a delicate left-foot shot past Cerny from the edge of the box.
Mendes, who was making his first appearance of the season following injury, saw a goal-bound shot tipped away by Cerny before Gregg Wylde was given his Rangers debut as a replacement for Miller.
Knight won a corner for Hamilton after a poor pass-back by Weir and Rubiales crossed for McLaughlin to tower above the Rangers defence and bullet a header in off the crossbar in the closing minutes.
Rangers manager Walter Smith:
"It was always going to be an awkward game, Hamilton set out their stall to keep a few men behind the ball and make it awkward for us.
"We missed a few opportunities in the early part of the game where we might have got a couple of early goals. When it did come, it was a good finish by Steven Whittaker and it was a good header by Kris Boyd to put us two-nil up at half-time.
"In the second half, we struggled a little bit at the start to make any opportunities and then eventually got a couple of other goals to seal the game.
"Steven Davis played exceptionally well today. He has done consistently over the time that he's been here.
"It was a little bit of slackness all round at the Hamilton goal. A set piece, as I keep warning everybody here, offers the opposition as good an opportunity as they're likely to get all afternoon and that was the case with Hamilton and they took advantage of that."
Hamilton manager Billy Reid: "I can't have any complaints, we were beaten by the better side but that's a big, big improvement for us in terms of our shape, discipline and organisation.
"I thought at times when we got the ball, we kept it well.
"I'm a wee bit disappointed with a couple of the goals we lost but Rangers have got good players, they're going to do that.
"We caused them one or two problems. We've managed to get a goal at the end, which was pleasing.
"We have to take the positives from our game. I was happy with Gary Mason in the middle of the park and that's something to build on.
"I thought James McArthur was excellent. He showed a maturity to his game. He was the captain of the club, he was a leader and I'm proud of him."
Live text and stats
Saturday, 29 August 2009
14 Naismith (Novo 73)
18 Miller (Wylde 81)
23 Welsh (Louhoungu 46)
34 Mason (Wilkie 77)
21 Marco Paixao (Knight 56 yellow card)
Ref: O'ReillyAtt: 47,633
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
92:16 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+1:54 The ball is delivered by Steven Whittaker, Sasa Papac takes a shot. Blocked by Mark McLaughlin.
90:00+0:28 Centre by Greg Wylde, clearance made by Mark McLaughlin. Inswinging corner taken by Pedro Mendes from the left by-line, Headed
effort from deep inside the area by Lee McCulloch misses to the left of the goal.
89:37 Booking Leon Knight booked for unsporting behaviour.
89:14 Leon Knight gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Pedro Mendes. David Weir takes the direct free kick.
88:11 Steven Davis gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luis Rubiales. Tomas Cerny takes the direct free kick.
86:34 Luis Rubiales provided the assist for the goal.
86:34 GOAL - Mark McLaughlin:Rangers 4 - 1 Hamilton Mark McLaughlin finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close in. Rangers 4-1 Hamilton.
85:52 Corner taken by Luis Rubiales,
85:26 The ball is sent over by Steven Davis.
84:08 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sasa Papac on David Louhoungu. James Wesolowski takes the direct free kick.
82:33 Centre by Sasa Papac.
82:03 A cross is delivered by Steven Whittaker, clearance by Martin Canning.
80:16 Substitution Kenny Miller goes off and Greg Wylde comes on.
78:00 Sasa Papac challenges Simon Mensing unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.
76:41 Substitution Gary Mason goes off and Kyle Wilkie comes on.
76:41 Madjid Bougherra fouled by Leon Knight, the ref awards a free kick. Madjid Bougherra takes the direct free kick.
75:50 Kenny Miller crosses the ball.
75:33 Steven Whittaker takes a shot. Gary Mason gets a block in.
75:18 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Davis by Gary Mason. Steven Davis takes the free kick.
73:46 Corner taken by Luis Rubiales played to the near post, free kick awarded for a foul by David Louhoungu on Allan McGregor.
Allan McGregor takes the free kick.
73:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sasa Papac on David Louhoungu. Free kick crossed by Luis Rubiales, Pedro Mendes makes a clearance.
72:28 Substitution Nacho Novo comes on in place of Steven Naismith.
71:55 Steven Davis produces a cross, save made by Tomas Cerny.
71:47 Pedro Mendes delivers the ball, Simon Mensing makes a clearance.
71:10 Corner taken right-footed by Pedro Mendes to the near post, Gary Mason makes a clearance.
70:45 The ball is delivered by Leon Knight, save by Allan McGregor.
68:38 Pedro Mendes takes a shot. Save by Tomas Cerny.
68:17 Steven Davis fouled by James McArthur, the ref awards a free kick. Madjid Bougherra takes the direct free kick.
66:21 The assist for the goal came from Steven Davis.
66:21 GOAL - Steven Whittaker:Rangers 4 - 0 Hamilton Steven Whittaker gets on the score sheet with a goal from just inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Rangers
64:02 Assist by Steven Naismith.
64:02 GOAL - Kris Boyd:Rangers 3 - 0 Hamilton Goal scored by Kris Boyd from deep inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Rangers 3-0 Hamilton.
63:04 Sasa Papac delivers the ball, Kris Boyd takes a shot. Tomas Cerny makes a comfortable save.
61:01 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Pedro Mendes from the right by-line, Mark McLaughlin makes a clearance. Pedro Mendes
takes the inswinging corner, Steven Naismith produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide
of the right-hand post.
58:39 The ball is swung over by James McArthur, save made by Allan McGregor.
57:39 The offside flag is raised against Kenny Miller. Direct free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.
55:04 Free kick taken by Pedro Mendes.
55:04 Substitution Marco Paixao leaves the field to be replaced by Leon Knight.
55:04 Simon Mensing concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Naismith.
52:03 Unfair challenge on Pedro Mendes by James Wesolowski results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Sasa
Papac from left wing, clearance by Martin Canning.
49:21 Foul by Madjid Bougherra on Luis Rubiales, free kick awarded. Derek Lyle delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed
from left wing, save made by Allan McGregor.
48:54 Centre by Steven Whittaker, Kenny Miller takes a shot. Tomas Cerny makes a save.
47:57 Madjid Bougherra concedes a free kick for a foul on Marco Paixao. Derek Lyle restarts play with the free kick.
45:57 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Naismith by James Wesolowski. The ball is swung over by Steven Davis,
Pedro Mendes takes a shot. Blocked by James Wesolowski. The ball is sent over by Kenny Miller, Madjid Bougherra produces
a right-footed shot from close range that goes over the bar.
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:01 Substitution Kevin Welsh goes off and David Louhoungu comes on.
45:00+0:29 The referee calls an end to the first half.
43:46 Corner taken right-footed by Pedro Mendes, Header by David Weir from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the
43:05 Marco Paixao takes a shot. Save by Allan McGregor.
42:34 Mark McLaughlin fouled by Kris Boyd, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.
41:54 Centre by Martin Canning, Madjid Bougherra manages to make a clearance.
40:24 Effort on goal by Kenny Miller from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
39:39 The ball is swung over by James McArthur, clearance by David Weir.
38:23 James Wesolowski fouled by Steven Davis, the ref awards a free kick. Derek Lyle delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed
from left wing, David Weir makes a clearance. Luis Rubiales takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Sasa Papac makes
36:33 The ball is sent over by Kevin Welsh.
34:42 Marco Paixao challenges Steven Whittaker unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Steven Whittaker.
33:46 Steven Whittaker fouled by Luis Rubiales, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
32:36 Pedro Mendes takes the outswinging corner, Kris Boyd produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the
32:30 Steven Whittaker crosses the ball, blocked by Luis Rubiales.
28:24 The offside flag is raised against Kenny Miller. Indirect free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.
26:30 GOAL - Kris Boyd:Rangers 2 - 0 Hamilton Kris Boyd grabs a headed goal from inside the penalty area. Rangers 2-0 Hamilton.
26:21 The ball is swung over by Sasa Papac, clearance made by James Wesolowski.
24:57 Madjid Bougherra produces a cross.
24:29 Steven Whittaker delivers the ball, blocked by James Wesolowski.
24:18 Madjid Bougherra produces a cross, Mark McLaughlin makes a clearance.
23:25 James McArthur fouled by Steven Naismith, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Martin Canning.
22:43 Shot by Derek Lyle from outside the box goes high over the target.
20:34 The ball is delivered by Kenny Miller.
19:29 Unfair challenge on Kenny Miller by Mark McLaughlin results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Pedro Mendes
from right channel, Martin Canning makes a clearance.
18:16 The assist for the goal came from Steven Davis.
18:16 GOAL - Steven Whittaker:Rangers 1 - 0 Hamilton Goal scored by Steven Whittaker from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Rangers 1-0 Hamilton.
16:47 The ball is delivered by Steven Davis, save by Tomas Cerny.
13:49 The ball is delivered by James McArthur, David Weir gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Luis Rubiales
from the right by-line to the near post, Foul by Marco Paixao on Allan McGregor, free kick awarded. Allan McGregor takes the
direct free kick.
13:01 Pedro Mendes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marco Paixao. Martin Canning takes the free kick.
11:57 Shot by Sasa Papac from just outside the area goes over the net.
11:48 The ball is crossed by Steven Davis, Martin Canning makes a clearance.
11:41 Sasa Papac crosses the ball, clearance made by Luis Rubiales.
11:32 Centre by Steven Davis, clearance by Simon Mensing.
10:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Derek Lyle by Sasa Papac. Tomas Cerny takes the free kick.
9:38 Madjid Bougherra fouled by Luis Rubiales, the ref awards a free kick. Madjid Bougherra takes the direct free kick.
7:58 Steven Davis takes a shot. Save by Tomas Cerny.
6:52 Shot on goal by Marco Paixao from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
6:07 Steven Davis takes a shot. Tomas Cerny makes a save. Shot from close in by Steven Davis misses to the left of the target.
5:42 Foul by Marco Paixao on Madjid Bougherra, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
5:15 Kenny Miller gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Wesolowski. Tomas Cerny takes the direct free kick.
4:33 Martin Canning crosses the ball, Madjid Bougherra makes a clearance.
0:53 Steven Davis produces a cross, Simon Mensing manages to make a clearance.
0:00 The referee gets the game underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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