Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was delighted to see his players weighing in with goals without Alfredo Morelos in a 5-0 win over Hamilton.
Five different goalscorers – Ryan Jack, Jermain Defoe, Scott Arfield, James Tavernier, from the spot, and Kyle Lafferty – were on target as Rangers finally won a game without the suspended Morelos.
Rangers had failed to win in five attempts during suspensions for Morelos this season and drew a blank in the first two matches of the Colombian’s current three-match ban – but were three up inside 24 minutes at the Hope Stadium.
Gerrard said: “It is pleasing because at times we have been over-reliant on Alfredo. We have definitely got the quality to create goals and score goals when he’s not available. That was the big positive, and the clean sheet as well.
“We were excellent first half. It’s difficult at 4-0, some people mentally switch off a little bit second half so I wanted to bring the subs on to bring more energy and purpose to our play and that’s what we did.”
Substitute Lafferty came close on several occasions before netting his first Ladbrokes Premiership goal in five months two minutes from the end when he swept home a square ball from Daniel Candeias.
“It’s been coming,” Gerrard said. “I think he has been a little bit unlucky at times, you see his header and the defender jumps in the way and you think ‘it’s not going to be again’. But he has stayed with it.
“We know he has the quality to either come in, or even when he starts, to get numbers in his game and hopefully that will do him the world of good now and he can build on that.”
Hamilton were far too open, in the first half especially, but head coach Brian Rice felt his side’s passing was the biggest issue.
Rice said: “Personally I look at myself, the way I set the team up for the first half.
“I didn’t want to sit and defend, I wanted to have a go at Rangers, I wanted us to exploit any weaknesses they had, I wanted us to play on the front foot, try and get crosses, shots, anything to force them back the pitch.
“Unfortunately it didn’t materialise and Rangers had us on the back foot early on.
“What disappoints me most of all is when we had the ball, not being able to look after it.
“Being brave isn’t smashing someone, being brave is saying ‘give me the ball with someone on me and I’ll look after it and make a proper pass’. We never had that, Rangers got the ball back far too easily.”