Rampant Rangers on course for season without defeat
Barker adds to Rangers tally (SNS Group)
Rangers 8 Hamilton 0
Motherwell 1 Celtic 4
Rangers continued to stamp their authority on the Scottish Premiership, as their biggest win under Steven Gerrard will prompt speculation that they could go through the season unbeaten.
A nine-point lead at the top of the league disguises the two fewer games played by second-placed Celtic. But as every coach will admit, those games still have to be won and Rangers are in formidable form, still to concede a goal at Ibrox, let alone a point.
Against much weaker opposition yesterday, there was no likelihood of any of the lapses that saw them surrender a two-goal lead in their midweek Europa League match in Benfica.
Hamilton were a shadow of the side which snatched a rare 1-0 win at Ibrox in March and were lucky not to see their opponents run up a double-digit scoreline.
Accies’ boss Brian Rice was being somewhat optimistic in his comparison with Southampton’s crushing defeat to Leicester in the English Premiership last season.
“It didn’t seem to affect Southampton,” he said. “They lost 9-0 to Leicester last season and this weekend were top of the English Premier League. So things can change quickly in football.”
It was a loanee from Southampton who maintained the challenge to Steven Gerrard’s side and eased pressure on Celtic coach Neil Lennon following a string of poor results.
Mohamed Elyounoussi’s hat-trick helped put Motherwell to the sword, with Olivier Ntcham’s late strike giving the Champions only their second victory in seven games.
Aberdeen are just three points adrift of the Champions, albeit with an inferior goal difference.
Rangers scorers: Arfield (16′), Roofe (18′, 54′), Aribo (19′, 36′), Barker (62′), Tavernier (65′ pen, 69′)
Celtic scorers: Elyounoussi (8′, 27, 76′), Ntcham (86′)
Motherwell scorer: Gallagher (72′)