Cumbernauld United recorded a well deserved 4-1 win in Saturday’s eagerly awaited Super League First Division derby match at Kilsyth.
Rangers were poor in all departments and after losing a goal either side of the interval never looked likely winners.
With Clydebank also losing to Kilwinning and Largs not having a game, the table is now much tighter at the top.
There wasn’t much to enthuse the fans in the opening exchanges until a clash between Kris Irvine and a Kilsyth player resulted in a booking for Irvine who had to be taken off for treatment to a cut.
The United bench were furious and were warned by the referee but eventually things cooled down with K Clark coming on for the injured player.
Play was scrappy with few decent chances coming at either end and finishing poor and it seemed neither side was capable of stringing more than a couple of decent passes together.
If anything Rangers had a bit more of the possession and a good chip shot in to Joe Barclay created a real opening but ’keeper Barry Fraser beat him to the ball.
Then just when it seemed that the first half would be goalless Dylan McGuigan received on the edge of the box and fired in a fine shot to put United ahead.
Just as Culter had done against Rangers the previous week, United scored on either side of half-time as, within 20 seconds of the restart, Steph McDonald ran in unchallenged and added a second goal.
Rangers’ reply was a shot from Barclay which went wide.
Cumbernauld were awarded a penalty but McDonald’s spot kick was weak and Andy Carlin saved it on the line.
However the third goal was only delayed by a few minutes though as a free-kick into the Rangers goalmouth was helped into the net by Dominic O’Halloran.
In desperation Rangers made a triple substitution, replacing Michael McGee, Ross Hepburn and Willie Easton with Damon Welsh, Marco Andreoni and Paul Stewart.
It would have made little difference who had gone off as the whole team seemed lethargic, but within a minute it seemed to have worked when Stewart scored with his first touch.
Cumbernauld also made a change with Stephen Mullen coming on for McDonald and when he added a fourth goal late in the game from a cross by Foley it was no more than was deserved by a competent United who will soon be challenging for a promotion spot on this showing.
Rangers, on the other end, have lost their early season magic and work will be required if they are to remain in the hunt.
Kilsyth: Carlin, Waters, K McBride, Reid, Mclaren, McGee, Prentice, Hepburn, Barclay, P McBride, Prentice. Subs. Hughes, Welsh, Pearson, Andreoni, Stewart.
Cumbernauld; Fraser, McHaffie, Brown, Dickson, Sullivan, Foley, Irvine, McLaughlin, McDonald, McGuigan, O’Halloran. Subs. Mullen, K Clark, McKechnie, A Clark, McGuire.
This week Cumbernauld are at home to Kilwinning Rangers while Kilsyth travel to Blantyre Victoria.
Rangers would like to thank the Coachman Hotel for hospitality to the Culter and Rangers teams and officials after the recent cup tie.