Scottish League 1: Rangers start campaign with convincing 4-1 win over Brechin
Rangers overcame their off-field troubles to secure a convincing 4-1 victory over Brechin.
Last Updated: 10/08/13 3:27pm
Chris Hegarty, Nicky Law, Ian Black and Dean Shiels were all on target at Ibrox to begin the league campaign in style, despite Steven Jackson pulling a goal back for the visitors.
Ahead of kick-off, the Third Division championship flag was unfurled by club legend Sandy Jardine - who has been battling cancer since last year - to rapturous applause from the crowd of 44,380.
A packed Ibrox was on its feet again with just over a minute on the clock when the home side surged into an early lead.
Law's drive was blocked and Hegarty reacted first to fire home the loose ball from a couple of yards and open his account for the club.
With their team in control on the park, a section of the support took the opportunity to voice their opposition to former chief executive Charles Green's return to the club as a consultant.
One banner declared: 'Red, White and Blue. No Green in Rangers' as fans in the Broomloan stand chanted their unhappiness at his return.
Rangers continued to press for a second goal and skipper for the day Lee Wallace teed up Andy Little but his header fell past the upright, before Daly also nodded wide.
Black then drew an excellent point blank save from goalkeeper Graeme Smith. Brechin continued to soak up the pressure as Daly's close-range shot hit the post and Robbie Crawford's follow up effort smacked off the goalkeeper.
But Rangers' pressure finally paid off five minutes before the break when they doubled their lead after Law rounded Gerry McLauchlan and lashed home.
Cribari had appeared to be struggling in the first half and he was replaced at the break by Kyle McAusland, who slotted into the right-back role as Hegarty moved to centre-half.
Rangers could have been further ahead shortly after the restart when only the crossbar prevented Jackson from sending an attempted clearance from a Black free-kick into the back of his own net.
Instead, Jackson had an even more dramatic impact at the other end when he hauled Brechin back into the game after 65 minutes with a superb overhead kick that left goalkeeper Scott Gallacher helpless.
Better news for Rangers was the sight of Shiels coming off the bench to make his first appearance since suffering a serious knee injury during the defeat to Annan in March.
Hopes of a Brechin comeback were shattered when referee George Salmond pointed to the spot for a Paul McLean foul on Little in the box, before brandishing the red card at the City player.
Black stepped up for the penalty, which was blocked by Smith, before the midfielder rifled home the rebound to put the match beyond Brechin after 81 minutes. Shiels then capped the win with a lovely curling effort into the top corner with five minutes to go.