Skipper Lee McCulloch helped himself to a first-half hat-trick as Rangers clinched the Scottish League One title with a convincing 3-0 win over Airdrie at Ibrox.

The 35-year-old scored a brace from the spot before netting a third from open play as the Light Blues forged 26 points ahead of second-placed Dunfermline with eight games remaining, to continue their ascent back to the top flight.

Rangers are now only one successful championship campaign away from the Scottish Premiership and their fans' celebrations at the final whistle were loud enough, although they will know manager Ally McCoist's vastly superior resources, ironically, while the club's finances remain fraught, made their second successive title win inevitable.

Rangers remain unbeaten in the league and have a Ramsdens Cup final against Raith Rovers to look forward to in April, but performances in general this season have attracted criticism, most notably when the Ibrox side could only draw 1-1 with Albion Rovers in their home William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tie on Sunday.

Rangers had to start at the bottom tier of Scottish league football after lapsing into administration and liquidation in 2012.