Bongani Zungu made his official debut for Rangers in their comfortable 8-0 victory over Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday evening.
Scott Arfield got the onslaught started as Gers struck three times in three first-half minutes to kill the game early.
The Light Blues have been threatening to dish out an almighty beating for much of this season and unfortunately for Brian Rice’s basement boys, they were the team to feel the full wrath of the unbeaten Premiership leaders as Gers scored eight goals in the top-flight for the first time since 1981.
Kemar Roofe, Joe Aribo and James Tavernier all scored doubles while Brandon Barker was also on the scoresheet as Gers maintained their nine-point lead at the top.
Old Firm foes Celtic do have two games in hand but this huge win now gives Gerrard’s team a healthy advantage in the goal difference stakes, with their tally 13 better off than the Hoops.
FULL-TIME: Rangers 8-0 Hamilton A terrific performance and another clean sheet at Ibrox. pic.twitter.com/2sCYfU62QUNovember 8, 2020
Gerrard freshened up his team yet again after Thursday’s 3-3 draw with Benfica in Lisbon as Jon McLaughlin, Leon Balogun, Arfield, Jermain Defoe and Roofe came in.
Accies had striker David Moyo up front as he looked to repeat his shock winner against the Light Blues in March.
That 1-0 defeat proved to be Gers’ last game before lockdown ultimately brought an end to what had been a nightmare second half to last season as Celtic were crowned champions.
But things could hardly be any different eight months on as Gers blew Accies away to keep a firm grip on this year’s championship lead.
They threatened twice early on but when Ben Stirling and Hakeem Odoffin collided in a fashion similar to Scotland pair Willie Miller and Alan Hansen back at the 1982 World Cup on 16 minutes, it sparked a complete Accies collapse.
Defoe was quick to pounce on the pair’s mistake as he rolled the ball down the left for Kent, who squared for Arfield to sweep home into an unguarded net.
Rice’s team were still recovering from that setback when Rangers struck again two minutes later, with Roofe beating both Stirling and team-mate Kent to Tavernier’s cross to power his header down into the bottom corner.
And Rangers made it three in three minutes when Kent and Arfield combined to find Aribo in the box, with the former Charlton man twisting into shooting space before unleashing a finish that squirmed past Fulton.
That put the game to bed with 70 minutes left.
The hosts had a couple of other chances but number four did not arrive until the 36th minute as Tavernier sent a teasing ball to the back post. It was just out of Defoe’s reach but Roofe recovered it well before teeing up Aribo again, with his strike taking a touch off Collar on its way into the net.
With that handsome four-goal lead Gerrard was able to make some changes at half-time as Bongani Zungu was given his debut as he and Calvin Bassey replaced Ryan Jack and Borna Barisic.
🇿🇦 A #RangersFC debut for @BonganiZungu08. pic.twitter.com/7473P8C0cJNovember 8, 2020
But Gers’ hunger for goals remained just as ferocious and they netted again nine minutes after the restart. Kent’s cross evaded Defoe’s outstretched toe but when it bounced back off the far post, Roofe was perfectly positioned to ram home his second.
Bassey then led the charge on 61 minutes as he raced down the left before picking out Defoe on the edge of the box. The former England striker could have shot himself but unselfishly rolled the ball to Barker to fire home just moments after coming off the bench.
Defoe might also have demanded to take the penalty four minutes later after he was hauled down by Odoffin but handed the ball over to Tavernier, who fired his spot-kick straight down the middle for number seven.
The skipper was in the right place at the right time three minutes to complete his double after Fulton parried a Roofe effort.
With eight goals, the only surprise was that Defoe was not among the scorers although the 38-year-old came close late on his as he thumped a close-range effort off the base of the post.
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