18 Feb Josh Windass hits hat-trick at Hamilton as Rangers go second
Josh Windass scored a hat-trick as Rangers moved back up to second in the Ladbrokes Premiership following a 5-3 comeback victory over Hamilton at the SuperSeal Stadium.
The first half turned out to be a six-goal thriller as Gers took command thanks to Windass’ brace and strikes from Alfredo Morelos and Jamie Murphy.
Accies, who led early through Darren Lyon’s strike and briefly levelled the game at 2-2 after David Templeton had netted, limited the damage after the break.
But the hosts remain second-bottom while Gers leap-frog Aberdeen on goal difference after Windass put the seal on victory with his third midway through the second period.
Dougie Imrie’s late penalty was little consultation for Martin Canning’s home side.
New Rangers midfielder Greg Docherty returned to face his old side but it was his mistake which handed Accies the opener. Docherty had the chance to clear Ross Jenkins’ cut-back but – when he fresh-aired his clearance – it allowed Lyon to sweep home.
Docherty almost made amends for his error as he clipped the ball in for Morelos but the little Colombian could only nod the ball off the face of the crossbar, but Rangers did level after 10 minutes.
David Bates headed forward for Morelos, who played a one-two with Daniel Candeias before out-stripping Xavier Tomas to the by-line. His cut-back took goalkeeper Gary Woods out of the equation and left Murphy with an empty net to slot into.
Woods made a calamitous blunder to hand the visitors their second. Instead of gathering the ball, he allowed Windass’ strike to spin up off his chest and over his shoulder. He desperately tried to retrieve his mistake but could only bat the ball into the roof of the net.
But Hamilton struck back three minutes later, with Templeton stroking home after Jenkins had cut out a Russell Martin clearance.
Rangers, though, went up through the gears again as they firmly took control before the break.
After 25 minutes, Docherty stole possession from Kenny van der Weg’s loose pass and gave it to Morelos, who then played in Murphy. Woods kept out his attempt but could do nothing as Murphy played the rebound back to Morelos to tuck
home Rangers’ third.
And Windass made it four 11 minutes before the break as he ran onto Murphy’s first-time lay-off and fired again into the bottom corner.
Docherty almost marked his return with a goal two minutes before the hour as he hooked the ball onto the crossbar, with Bates guilty of a poor miss on the rebound.
Candeias would have got his name on the scoresheet had Morelos not got in his way of a Windass cross.
But number five arrived after 72 minutes as Candeias released Morelos with a quick throw and his cross was tapped home by Windass as he claimed the match ball.
Imrie then smashed home from the spot two minutes from time after Martin was adjudged to have stopped a Lewis Ferguson shot with his hand.