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Alloa Athletic 1-5 Rangers: New skipper Lee leads way for five-star Gers

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 17/08/2015

Up and running: Rangers' James Tavernier (second left) opens the scoring
Up and running: Rangers' James Tavernier (second left) opens the scoring

Mark Warburton heaped praise on "outstanding" Lee Wallace after naming the full-back as the new Rangers club captain.

Gers boss Warburton revealed he agonised over who to select as successor to Lee McCulloch, but is adamant the 28-year-old emerged as the stand-out candidate.

And Wallace celebrated his appointment in style, leading his side to an emphatic 5-1 Scottish League One win over Alloa thanks to goals from Martyn Waghorn, James Tavernier, Jason Holt and a Kenny Miller brace.

Warburton said: "It was only logical. People ask me why I didn't do it earlier, but I think to rush into a decision of that magnitude would have been wrong.

"It's a big responsibility and you have to know that the player is up to it.

"But Lee, from the first whistle, has been outstanding for us. He fully deserved it.

"When he said yes to the offer, I was delighted for him because he will be crucial this season."

Warburton also handed a debut to Nathan Oduwa, an arrival from Tottenham last week, and the gifted winger played a pivotal role in Miller's strike to make it 5-1.

He showcased a swathe of tricks, including a 'rainbow flick' which drew the ire of some Alloa players.

And, while absolving the youngster of any accusations of disrespect, Warburton admitted he "wasn't a fan" of the move.

"I'm not always a big fan of that! But you've got to hope you develop a real talent - and he is a real talent," he added.

"You've got to make sure you create the environment for those boys to flourish. That's the key.

"I'm delighted with how he played and delighted we've got him. But he has to realise that he's up here to learn.

"There's no lack of respect intended by any of the players, absolutely not. Nathan's just enjoying his football."

Rangers have now netted 17 goals in four competitive games under Warburton, with eight different scorers.

The much-maligned synthetic surface at the Indodrill Stadium was not a happy hunting ground for the Gers last term, with the Ibrox men winning just one of their three visits and succumbing to an embarrassing Petrofac Training Cup defeat last November.

However, there was never any sign of them faltering again, and the visitors' triumph could have been far more emphatic with Miller and Waghorn both striking the woodwork.

It took just five minutes for Rangers to claim the lead. Miller found a pocket of space in midfield and slipped the ball to Nicky Law, whose reverse through-ball was perfect for the marauding Tavernier to lash the ball into the roof of the net.

Alloa's response was swift and spectacular. Graeme Holmes chipped a hopeful pass over the flat Gers back line and Chopra connected sweetly with the ball dropping over his shoulder to volley beyond the helpless Wes Foderingham.

However, parity did not last for long. Holt was hauled down inside the box, with referee Crawford Allan pointing to the penalty spot without hesitation. and Waghorn stepped up to send Andy McNeil the wrong way.

Alloa had the woodwork to thank for keeping the score respectable, with Waghorn crashing a point-blank drive against the underside of the crossbar, before Miller curled an effort against the post.

However, the game was put to bed prior to the interval with a clinical quickfire double. Holt made it 3-1 after 40 minutes, smashing home after McNeil parried a ferocious low shot by Lee Wallace, who had been confirmed as the new Rangers club captain just prior to kick-off. A rout appeared on the cards when Miller added his name to the scoresheet, converting a Tavernier cross from close range.

Nathan Oduwa was thrown on for his Rangers debut following his arrival from Tottenham last week as the second half failed to live up to the thrills and spills of the first period.

However, they added gloss to the scoreline, with Miller prodding home from six yards following a cross-cum-shot by Tavernier which was teed up by a super Oduwa surge into the box.

Tavernier and Nicky Clark both saw goals disallowed in the dying embers as Alloa welcomed the respite of the referee's full-time whistle.

Alloa: McNeil, McAusland, Marr, Hill, Hamilton, Duffy (Hetherington 46), McManus, O'Brien, Holmes (Lynas 68), Chopra, Mitchell (Layne 57). Subs not used: Reintam, Ferns, Williams, Crawford.

Goals: Chopra 7.

Rangers: Foderingham,Tavernier, Kiernan, Danny Wilson, Wallace, McKay (Oduwa 61), Holt, Halliday, Law (Shiels 62), Miller, Waghorn (Clark 61). Subs not used: Ball, Kelly, Hardie, Walsh.

Booked: Wallace.

Goals: Tavernier 4, Waghorn 9 pen, Holt 39, Miller 43,85.

Attendance: 3,047

Referee: Crawford Allan (Scotland).

Belfast Telegraph

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