A FLAT performance from Elgin City saw them crash to a 3-0 derby defeat at home to Peterhead.
A bumper Borough Briggs New Year crowd of 880 were left disappointed as City slumped to a third consecutive league defeat.
Peterhead leapfrogged Elgin into second place in the process.
Manager Ross Jack said: "We didn't put enough effort into the 90 minutes and Peterhead thoroughly deserved their victory.
"We need to regroup, get a few bodies back and go again on Saturday at Ibrox. We have set far higher standards this season."
City came close to opening the scoring when Stuart Leslie headed wide inside five minutes.
However, Peterhead quickly got on top and a lethargic Elgin side struggled to string any cohesive passing moves together.
David Cox opened the scoring after 19 minutes when he finished off a flowing move with a superb shot beyond City debutant Joe Malin.
Seven minutes before the break the Blue Toon went further ahead when Ryan Strachan's 35-yard free kick flew straight into the net through a ruck of players.
The introduction of sub Paul Millar brought Elgin's best opportunities but Graeme Smith twice denied the towering striker.
Peterhead sub Robbie Winters completed the win when he seized on a mistake by Jamie Duff to slot number three 16 minutes from the end.
Rangers eased 17 points clear of the chasing pack with a 3-1 win at Annan Athletic, their 11th straight league win.
City remain in third place, firmly in the play-off zone, and their task on Saturday is to somehow try and stop the Rangers juggernaut.
Elgin: Malin, Niven, McMullan (Millar 63), Crighton, Duff (McHardy 79), Cameron, Wyness (McLean 76), O'Donoghue, Leslie, Nicolson, Moore. Not used: Black, McLeod.