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Despite having Lee Wallace sent off, Ally McCoist’s men comfortably see their way easily past the Scottish minnows as they prepare for the top of the table clash at Elgin City

Rangers stretched their lead at the top of the Third Division despite Lee Wallace being sent off as a double from David Templeton and a Andrew Little strike saw the Ibrox side past Annan Athletic.

The victory sees the Ibrox side stretch their lead over second placed Elgin City to six points as they prepare to travel north for the rearranged fixture between the two on Saturday.

Ally McCoist made two changes to the side that defeated Montrose on Saturday, with both Barrie McKay and Francisco Sandaza coming in for the injured pair of Dean Shiels and Kevin Kyle.

Galabankies boss Harry Cairney made one change to the side that lost to Peterhead, with Graeme Ramage replacing Andrew Donley.

The home side had a couple of opportunities within the first couple of minutes, but on both occasions Templeton and Sandaza couldn’t find the target.

Rangers continued to pile on the pressure, with one-way traffic heading towards the Annan goal, but they couldn’t find a way past Alex Mitchell, with Little, Templeton and Lee McCulloch having efforts at goal.

Lewis McLeod should have had the home side ahead as Wallace raced down the left wing before cutting the ball back to McKay, who crossed the ball into the centre of the box for McLeod, but his strike was saved by the knees of Mitchell and eventually cleared from danger.

Annan’s first chance came midway through the first half as Chris Jardine played a one-two with Michael Daly before taking a low strike at goal, but Neil Alexander did well to get down and make the save.

The opener finally when a long throw in from Wallace found Templeton on the edge of the area, and the former Hearts midfielder turned and unleashed a volley over the outstretched arms of Mitchell.

McCoist’s side continued to dominate the remainder of the half, with Templeton and McLeod going close, but Mitchell kept them at bay well to make sure the visitors only went into the break a goal behind.

Despite controlling the second half, just as they had the first, Rangers found themselves a man down and facing a penalty, as Wallace was sent off for a foul inside the box, but Alexander saved his full-back’s blushes as he saved the resulting spot-kick from Scott Chaplain.

Rangers didn’t let going down to 10 men affect them, as Templeton found the onrushing Little, who got in behind the Annan defence and placed the ball past the outstretched arms of Mitchell and into the back of the net.  

Minutes later the lead was extended as Templeton received the ball just inside the Annan half, before racing forward and unleashing a strike that sailed past the helpless Mitchell and into the net.

The home side continued to pile on the pressure, but they couldn’t add to their lead, as they comfortably extended the gap at the top of the league.

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