Rangers punish poor Raith defending

Rangers 6 Raith Rovers 1

Raith Rovers were hit for six at Ibrox on Saturday as they suffered their worst league defeat in 11 years.

The 6-1 hammering against Rangers was the heaviest loss the Kirkcaldy men have endured since a 7-1 home defeat to Ross County in 2003.

It was another defensive horror show from Grant Murray’s side following last week’s 4-3 home defeat to Queen of the South.

Raith now have the joint worst defensive record in the Championship alongside Cowdenbeath with 21 goals conceded in 10 games.

And Murray blamed individual errors for the margin of defeat as Rangers punished another sloppy display at the back.

“No-one likes to lose a game of football, but to lose the way we did was disappointing,” he said.

“You don’t get away with the mistakes we made in any game.

“It’s up to us to come here with a belief that that we can win the game or take something.

“As much as we lost an early goal I still felt we were well in the game - we had chances.

“But when you come to places like this you have to be ruthless and make no mistakes whatsoever.

“We didn’t do that as a team. We didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

Raith were without front pair Christian Nade and Calum Elliot, both ruled out through injury, while on loan Barrie McKay was ineligible against his parent club.

Returning centre-halves Ross Perry and Dougie Hill both settled for a place on the bench, with Hill included in the squad for the first time this season since recovering from groin surgery. Based on this display it may not be long before one, or both, are back in the starting 11.

Raith made a bright start with Grant Anderson bursting through a huge hole in the Rangers defence in the second minute only to be denied a clear strike at goal by a last-ditch tackle from Darren McGregor.

However, Rangers were quick to exploit Rovers’ weaknesses at the other end, taking an eighth minute lead with a simple set piece goal. Lewis McLeod fired a corner into the near post area where Lee McCulloch escaped his marker to head past Ross Laidlaw.

Rovers were lucky not to fall further behind five minutes later as Fraser Aird capitalised on poor control from Laurie Ellis to race into the box but his shot flew wide of the far post.

While Raith looked vulnerable at the back, going forward they carried a threat with Anderson’s pace out wide causing the Rangers defence problems, while Martin Scott was also finding plenty space in an advanced midfield role.

And the visitors passed up a glorious chance to equalise in the 34th minute when an unmarked Paul Watson met Ryan Conroy’s corner 12 yards out but, unlike McCulloch, he failed to find the target.

Just two minutes later Rangers doubled their lead as a quickly taken free-kick caught the Raith defence napping. Boyd was clipped by Ellis, and as defenders turned their backs, Boyd took the kick, sending Nicky Law racing into the box to dink the ball beyond Laidlaw.

Attack looked to be Rovers’ best form of defence and they started the second half on the front foot with Anderson again speeding past Ricky Foster to drive for the near post only to get crowded out at the vital moment.

Kevin Moon then should have done better than volley straight into the arms of Steven Simonsen from Mark Stewart’s cross in the 52nd minute.

Two minutes later Raith got the goal their forward play deserved as a deep cross from Liam Fox was headed back across goal by Anderson and Scott powered a header towards goal that Simonsen got a hand to but could not keep out.

Raith were back in the game for all of 90 seconds however as more poor defending, this time a slack clearance from Watson, let Kenny Miller in to score Rangers’ third.

From then on the match became a procession towards the Raith goal as the visitors confidence levels crumbled, and Laidlaw made two stunning saves to prevent Miller adding to his tally.

However, the ‘keeper undid his good work by allowing Boyd’s tame effort to slip through his hands for Rangers fourth goal in the 64th minute.

Rovers battled against a Rangers tide for most of the last 20 minutes until sub Jon Daly grabbed the fifth and sixth goals in the closing minutes with simple close range finishes.

Rangers: Simonsen, Foster, McGregor, McCulloch, Wallace, Aird, Black, Law, Macleod (Templeton, 74), Miller (Clark, 71), Boyd (Daly, 71).

Raith Rovers: Laidlaw, Thomson, Watson, Ellis (Perry, 88), McKeown, Conroy (Vaughan, 82), Fox (Callachan, 75), Moon, Anderson, Scott, Stewart.

Referee: D.Robertson.

Attendance: 33,956.