Gers flex their muscles during 20 minute barrage

Gary Naysmith has agreed to stay on at East Fife.
Gary Naysmith has agreed to stay on at East Fife.

A 20-minute second-half collapse by the Fifers resulted in runaway league leaders Rangers leaving with all three points from Methil.

A Gary Thom own goal on 49 minutes was the catalyst for the house of cards to fall with Jon Daly then adding a quick fire hat-trick.

Thom’s contribution was particularly cruel given that he had been one of the stand out Fifers who had kept the Gers at bay during the opening 45.

Both he and Joe Mbu were outstanding in the centre of the East Fife defence, limiting Daly and strike partner Nicky Clark to nothing more than half chances to break the deadlock.

With Bayview’s temporary terracing open for the first time, the Methil ground was packed and there was a sense of occasion about the fixture.

Willie Aitchison’s men, though, were comfortable with the spotlight of being up against the league leaders glaring on them and frustrated their visitors.

Clark fired in a strike which whistled past Greg Paterson’s goal before the Fife ‘keeper held an Arnold Peralta header.

To be fair the Gers had the bulk of possession and swept forward with wave after wave of attack.

But they were unable to find a way past a well organised and mean East Fife back line.

Liam Buchanan almost put the hosts in front with a long range drive which dipped just over the bar.

The deadlock was broken in cruel fashion when Thom turned a Lee Wallace cross into his own net.

Daly added a quick second when he headed home Peralta’s cross.

The deflated Methil support then looked on as their side shipped a third goal - again from the head of Daly.

The big striker rose highest to head home a pinpoint Clark cross.

The scoring was completed when Daly secured his hat-trick by tapping home a Lewis Macleod cut-back.

The four goal margin wasn’t a fair reflection on how the game had gone up until that point.

Thankfully the Fifers managed to regain their shape and proved they were capable of going toe to toe with the Glasgow giants.

Scott McBride almost pulled a late goal back and give his side a consolation they would have deserved but his strike was blocked by Cammy Bell in the Rangers goal.

The game played out with visitors Rangers in control, content with their day’s professional, if not entirely impressive, work.

Attention will now turn to Saturday’s Scottish Cup trip to Forfar for the Fifers.