Super Eagles’ midfielder, Joe Aribo, fired warnings to Sierra Leone on Sunday ahead of their AFCON 2022 qualifier with Nigeria in Benin City as he gave a five-star performance in Rangers 8-0 mauling of Hamilton at the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow. He scored two of Rangers goal.
Aribo and his Super Eagles teammates are expected in the Edo State capital as the camp formally open for the double header clash with Sierra Leone.
The win was Rangers biggest win under Steven Gerrard to go nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Scott Arfield struck the opener while Kemar Roofe headed the second and Joe Aribo’s deflected shot made it three.
Aribo’s second of the night also took a nick off a defender as bottom side Accies toiled.
Roofe tapped in after the break before substitute Brandon Barker slotted in and James Tavernier contributed a penalty and another strike.
Gerrard’s side have played two games more than nearest challengers Celtic and are yet to concede a league goal at Ibrox this season.
The margin of victory makes it the biggest win since the top flight was rebranded as the Scottish Premiership in 2013, which was also the same as last year’s Rangers 8-0 crushing of Stenhousemuir.
The hosts showed attacking intent from the outset and Connor Goldson, Ryan Kent and Tavernier were all denied by goalkeeper Ryan Fulton early on.
The pressure told on 16 minutes when Jermain Defoe stole possession just inside the Accies half and released Kent with a reverse pass – the winger squaring for Arfield to apply the finish.
Tavernier then crossed for Roofe to head his fourth goal of the season. And it got worse for Hamilton when Aribo worked the space to get a shot away, with the ball spinning off Scott McMann and Hakeem Odoffin into the net.
There was no let-up from the home side and Roofe set up Aribo again, the midfielder’s shot diverted over Fulton by Will Collar.
Arfield fancied another and drew a save from Fulton in added time and the keeper was called into action again early in the second period when Tavernier struck.
McMann almost scored an own goal when preventing Arfield’s cross reaching Defoe, the ball hitting the post and presenting Roofe with an easy chance for his second goal of the afternoon.
Defoe set up Kent’s replacement Barker to slide home and the striker was then fouled by Odoffin to give top scorer Tavernier the chance to score his 11th goal of the season.
And Tavernier soon made it 12 for the campaign, reacting quickest in the box after Fulton had blocked Roofe’s effort.
Rangers had let a two-goal lead slip in Thursday’s 3-3 Europa League draw with Benfica and they showed a hunger to make amends for the late lapses in Lisbon.
The movement of their front players consistently stretched Hamilton and, but for Fulton, the rout could have made it into double figures, while Bongani Zungu made his debut as a second-half substitute.
For Hamilton it was a far cry from March’s 1-0 win at Ibrox as their run of league defeats stretched to four, during which they have conceded 20 goals.
Their lengthy injury list prompted head coach Brian Rice to add Aaron Martin and Nathan Thomas to his squad in recent days and captain Brian Easton returned after a nine-month absence to get 90 minutes under his belt on a difficult afternoon.
Hamilton continue their League Cup group campaign away to Stranraer on Wednesday evening and at home to Albion Rovers next Saturday.
Rangers return from the international break against Premiership visitors Aberdeen on 22 November, the day after Accies visit Dundee United in the league.