Fifers fail to recover from nightmare start at Ibrox

Ross Brown rises above Ian Black.
Ross Brown rises above Ian Black.

They reckon that to stand any chance of taking something from either half of the Old Firm you have to keep them quiet for the first 20 minutes at least.

Sadly, East Fife had barely lasted 20 seconds before shipping the first of five goals against the title favourites on Saturday.

When Nicky Clark opened the scoring within the first minute you feared for East Fife but, to their credit, the Methil side would go on to offer a threat of their own up front and give their fans a bit of cheer.

Clark’s goal came from the first real attack of the match when he slammed home from close range.

Willie Aitchison’s side immediately looked to hit back and Liam Buchanan found a way in behind the Rangers back line only for Seb Faure to get back and clear.

Given the quality throughout the Rangers side they were always going to pose a threat going forward, and quickly made it two.

Lee Wallace was afforded space out on the wing and swung in a cross which Lee McCulloch met and headed past Michael Andrews.

Countless teams have gone behind early at Ibrox and, fearing a mauling, have chosen to shut up shop to prevent any further damage.

That wasn’t the case with East Fife, though, who would go on to have the best spell of the game with Cedric Tuta and Buchanan causing problems.

Buchanan had a shot well held by Cammy Bell before Tuta should have pulled one back when he swung at fresh air from eight yards.

Typically they were made to pay for their misses and McCulloch made it three when he again nodded home.

One of the highlights of this season has been the form of youngster Ross Brown and his drive forced a save out of Bell.

East Fife handed a debut to former Hearts defender Robbie Neilson and, when his clearance fell kindly for Lewis McLeod, the youngster wasted no time in thumping an absolute screamer past Andrews for the goal of the game.

East Fife had struggled to deal with the quality of 
Rangers’ deliveries into the box and McCulloch headed home an inch-perfect Kyle McAusland cross.

McCulloch could have rubbed a little more salt into the wounds when he found space for himself inside the box.

Mercifully for the Methil men he fired high over the 
bar.

The last chance of the game fell the way of East Fife as they pressed for a consolation goal that, over the piece, you wouldn’t have grudged them when Neilson’s drive sailed high and wide.