Rangers Go Nap As Boyd Hits Three
Today’s Scottish Cup-tie marked the first occasion on which the two clubs have met in a competitive game, and also represented Rangers’ first home Scottish Cup-tie since 2002, a run of eight consecutive away games.
There was a healthy travelling support of some 3,000 Peterhead fans inside Ibrox – the largest for an away game this season with the obvious exception of Celtic.
Manager Alex McLeish made three changes from Hogmanay with Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Bob Malcolm and of course Boyd replacing Alan Lowing, Fernando Ricksen and Thomas Buffel.
The former Kilmarnock player almost made a dream start inside the first minute, shooting just wide from a Chris Burke lay-off.
Three minutes later a Burke corner broke to Nacho Novo who saw his shot held by visiting goalkeeper Paul Mathers.
Rangers were going all out for an early goal – Peter Lovenkrands’ twenty-yard shot from a Boyd lay-off flashing just wide in six minutes.
Within sixty seconds at the other end - just to prove there were two teams on the park – Robert Linn’s left-foot volley from a Keith Gibson through-ball
floated inches past.
Lovenkrands came close to breaking the deadlock in ten minutes – embarking on a mazy run, he played a one-two with Barry Ferguson only to see his effort blocked by Mathers.
The Second Division outfit had weathered the early storm, and with the always-present danger that the near-40,000 crowd would grow restless the longer the game went without a goal Rangers were pressing furiously in search of the breakthrough – Lovenkrands shooting across the face of goal from a Novo back-heel in 25 minutes, then three minutes later his angled
drive from another Nacho flick was beaten away by Mathers.
Mathers was putting up the shutters – Boyd’s header from a Steven Smith free-kick being turned over on the half-hour.
The deadlock was finally broken in 34 minutes – another Burke corner being headed goalwards by Novo only to be blocked by Boyd who spun round to crash a shot off an upright before Kyrgiakos stabbed the ball home.
Peterhead would have been more than happy with the one-goal deficit at the interval, and sixty seconds into the second-half Mathers again defied the Light Blues, turning wide Novo’s twenty-yard shot.
Rangers went 2-0 up in 48 minutes from the penalty spot when Craig Tully body-checked Lovenkrands as he burst into the box – Kris Boyd marking his debut with a goal that means that he has now scored in nine consecutive games, the first eight obviously whilst a Kilmarnock player.
Six minutes later it was 3-0 when Boyd turned the ball home after a superb Malcolm pass had released Novo down the right, the Spaniard turning inside before his cutback found the new Ranger.
Alan Lowing replaced Ian Murray in 56 minutes, then eight minutes later Malcolm’s header from a Lovenkrands corner was touched over by Mathers.
Ross McCormack replaced Lovenkrands in 65 minutes.
Boyd made it a dream debut when he completed his hat-trick five minutes later – heading home a Lowing cross for his twentieth goal of the season.
McCormack made it 5-0 in 74 minutes, chipping the ball home from a Novo pass.
Afterwards a relaxed Alex McLeish reflected:
“We started at a good tempo and made chances. It was only a matter of time. Kris Boyd had a great start. He is very elusive in the box and is a confident player.
The lack of a goalscorer has proved costly in the League. The support was magnificent today.”
Kris Boyd summed up his debut:
“It was a great start. Peterhead sat behind the ball and were hard to break down. It was good to get off the mark. I knew goals would come.”
RANGERS Waterreus; Murray (Lowing 56), Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Smith; Burke, Ferguson, Malcolm (A. Rae 70), Novo; Boyd, Lovenkrands (McCormack 65)
UNUSED SUBS Klos, Buffel
PETERHEAD Mathers; Hegarty, Cameron; Tully, Perry, Gibson; Sharp (Robertson 88), Buchan, Linn (Youngson 76), Wood (Michie 70), Hagen
UNUSED SUBS McCafferty, Shand
REFEREE Brian Winter