PATIENCE is not just a virtue at Ibrox this season, it is a necessity. It was required once again against Dumbarton but the wait proved worthwhile for Rangers.

The goals that clinched another Championship win and sent Mark Warburton’s side three points clear at the top of the table arrived in the second half, Jason Holt and Martyn Waghorn once again on target before a late strike from Nathan Oduwa and an Andy Halliday penalty ensured Rangers put distance between themselves and Hibernian.

The Ibrox crowd were once again sent home happy, but the night was not pleasing from start to finish. It took time for Rangers to get going and to break the Sons’ resistance but their efforts were rewarded in the end.

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After an impressive start to the campaign that saw Warburton’s side hit the goal trail, the Gers have found the going tougher at stages in recent weeks. The performances may not have been as good, but the points they have brought have been just as important.

The first of five fixtures in December was negotiated here as another win was added to their tally. By the time Hibs visit Ibrox at the end of the month, Warburton will hope his side have notched another three.

The pattern of play in the first half was familiar to the Ibrox crowd, and frustrating. Rangers saw plenty of the ball, but didn’t do enough with it to really trouble Dumbarton.

The Sons were hard working and compact and certainly made it difficult for Warburton’s side to get going. To a point, Rangers’ play was neat and tidy, but it was never sharp or incisive enough in the opening period.

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It is, of course, the end result that is the most important aspect of any match. When Warburton sits down to analyse the game and pours over the stats, the only numbers that will really matter is the goals scored and conceded.

In that respect, it was job done for Rangers. The other key figure, three, is now their advantage over Hibernian at the top of the table. Rangers should have got there with much more ease, though.

Rangers did carve out chances but frustration soon began to reverberate around Ibrox as too many of their attacking phases came to an end without keeper Mark Brown being worked.

He had to pull off a superb stop to deny Lee Wallace after nine minutes, the left-back collecting a neat, lofted ball from Barrie McKay and rifling a shot towards the far corner that was tipped round the corner by Brown.

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There were other half chances, a McKay cross almost ending up in the top corner and Wallace firing wide from distance before referee Crawford Allan waved away a penalty shout for the second time of the night.

Grant Gallagher’s appeals were rejected early on and it was Rangers who were denied this time after Dominic Ball drove towards the line and appeared to be caught by Steven Saunders. No penalty was awarded, although there was a brief clash between Mark Docherty and the on loan Spurs defender.

With just ten minutes left of a frustrating first half, one of Rangers’ best moves almost lead to the opening goal. McKay picked out James Tavernier at the back post and when the right-back put the ball into the area, Nicky Clark rose highest but saw his header saved by Brown.

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After Warburton’s team talk at half-time, Rangers’ bid for the win was delayed once again. It wasn’t the Dumbarton defence that was the problem this time, though.

Just seconds before kick-off, hundreds of fans were removed from section GF4 of the Sandy Jardine Stand and escorted along the trackside to take a seat in the Broomloan Stand as a precautionary measure.

An announcement over the PA system put the delay down to a ‘fabric issue’ and it was ten minutes before the action could get back underway.

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Within seconds, Rangers were ahead and, for the third game in succession, it was Holt who would break the deadlock, the midfielder picked out by Tavernier from the right and heading the ball into the net from six yards.

It was the start Warburton would have been hoping for from his side and it didn’t take long for Rangers to get the second goal they needed to secure the points, Waghorn finding the top corner from the edge of the area with a terrific strike as he took his tally for the season to 19 in superb style.

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After Tavernier had hit the bar with a header and Brown pulled off another good stop to deny Jordan Thompson, Rangers made it three with just ten minutes remaining and it was another substitute, Oduwa, who would convert a Wallace cross from the left flank to get his first goal for the club.

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There was still time for one more. Wallace was again involved, the Gers captain fouled by Saunders as he burst into the area and, after the Sons defender had walked off after receiving a straight red, Andy Halliday blasted home from the spot.

It added a shine to the score line after a performance that was at times frustrating yet at others entertaining. Once again, Rangers had got there in the end.