CAMBUSLANG Rangers went into their Premiership opener against Rob Roy with the question being pondered as to whether they could stay afloat on their return to the top flight.

Well on the evidence of Saturday’s 4-0 triumph, they are right where they belong.

The result – and the second-half performance – was everything Lang boss Paul McColl needed before matters get ramped up, starting with a trip to reigning champions Beith on Wednesday night.

But he and backroom team Jimmy Kerr and Billy Campbell are well aware that improvements will be required to pass the bigger tests that lie in wait.

McColl said: “We were understandably nervous at the start and the first half was probably eachy peachy in terms of possession but second half we hit the top of our game and Rob Roy couldn’t live with us.

“They have been in this top division for a number of years and are established so to beat them in the manner is pleasing and also encouraging as I think the guys can play a whole lot better.

“David Green grabbing the opening goal settled us and I felt he and Craig McLeish went on to dominate midfield, while at the back, Chris Meikle and Mark Staunton, helped by our two young full-backs, never allowed the Rob Roy forwards so much as a look at goal.

“And our two forwards John Gemmell and Calum McRobbie worked their socks off and showed they are as good as any pairing in the Premiership in posing all sorts of problems for the Rob Roy defenders.”

He added: "Lots of good points to mull over but none of us here is getting carried away with just winning our first game however it does put a smile on my face to see the name of Cambuslang Rangers topping the table.”

The visitors had looked threatening in their early forays with a netbound Connor Hughes shot in just three minutes denied by a terrific save from Lang goalkeeper Ian Stewart, who was then relieved when Hughes pulled another attempt wide of target after being set up by Willie Sawyers.

Cambuslang's powerful striker Gemmell came close with a header that carried wide of the far post and towards half time he produced a wonderful volleyed effort saved by Rob Roy No 1 Andy Finnigan. However, the hitman should and could have done better from the resulting corner kick as, totally unmarked, he stooped to head over the crossbar from six yards.

After the break, Finnigan’s diving save kept out another Gemmell shot but this time the resulting corner from Craig Hastings carried to the back post where the inrushing David Green netted with a downward header.

And their advantage was doubled with 55 minutes on the clock as lively front man McRobbie’s toe-poke from 18 yards found the net via a wicked deflection that left Finnigan looking on helplessly.

Asking the former Aberdeen signing later if he intended chalking up the goal as his own brought the reply: “You bet your life I am! There were shades of Ally McCoist in me scoring that goal and you know for certain he would have claimed it.”

Cambuslang now had their tails up and Rob Roy were offering little more than token resistance so no real surprise when a third goal arrived in 74 minutes as another corner kick saw Jordan Morton criminally allowed time and space to bring down the ball and direct a low drive into the far corner of the net.

And in the 86th minute substitute Jason Thomson latched on to a through ball and held off a despairing challenge before rolling the ball past an advancing Finnigan and into the empty net for 4-0.

And even a late consolation was denied visiting fans after Martin McBride’s well-hit shot came back off the upright.

Disappointment was etched all over Rabs gaffer Stewart Maxwell's face when he spoke after the final whistle.

“This is the moment to stay calm because the opening goal was always going to be crucial and if we’d scored it then the dynamics of the game would have been so different," he said.

“First half we probably edged things so there was no need to change things and at 0-0 we were still looking comfortable but it has to be said heads went down after Cambuslang’s goal and we never looked likely or indeed capable of getting ourselves back into the game.

“It was always going to be tough coming into the game with so many experienced players posted missing and it didn’t help when our goalkeeper Michael McKinven has pulled up in our warm-up with a groin strain.”

In other top-flight contests, Beith got the defence of their title away to the best possible start after Thomas Collins netted a brace in a 2-0 victory over Troon, while last season’s runners-up Auchinleck Talbot had a goal from Calvin Kemp to thank for a 1-0 win away to Largs Thistle.

Pollok slipped up in drawing 1-1 away to Renfrew for whom Craig Dallas netted a second-half equaliser to cancel out David Gormley’s opener, and Connor McLair helped himself to a double as Clydebank ran out 3-0 winners over Irvine Meadow. But Petershill were left ruing Jason Hardie’s missed penalty kick in going down 1-0 at home to Kilwinning Rangers for whom Bryan Boylan was on the scoresheet

Scott Anson bagged both goals in Cumnock’s 2-1 defeat of Kilbirnie Ladeside whose score was netted by Jon Scullion. Liam Caddis (2) and Ross Robertson netted as Hurlford United came out on top 3-2 at home to Glenafton who had led 2-0 through Cammy Marlow and Chris Dallas counters.