Six Shooter Rangers
the Scottish Cup with a 6-0 win over East Stirling at
Ibrox this evening to book a meeting with Hibernian at
Easter Road on Sunday week.
Manager Walter Smith made six changes from Inverness
with Graeme Smith (making his competitive debut), Alan
Hutton, Kirk Broadfoot, Alan Gow, Kris Boyd and
Jean-Claude Darcheville replacing Allan McGregor,
Carlos Cuellar, David Weir, Chris Burke, Steven
Naismith and Daniel Cousin.
The new pitch looked just fine in front of a healthy
attendance of 34,024 that included a sizeable
contingent of 'Shire fans, much greater than their
average home support.
To general disappointment, the Light Blue line-up did
not include any of the suggested youngsters, only
sixteen-year-old John Fleck finding a seat on the
Rangers attacked from the off - and had the ball in
the net in the fifth minute when Lee McCulloch headed
home from a Kirk Broadfoot cross only for the 'goal'
to be disallowed by Referee Crawford Allan for a foul
by the striker.
The opening goal was some time in coming - finally
arriving in 24 minutes when McCulloch seized on a
Charlie Adam through ball to coolly slip the ball past
the advancing East Stirling goalkeeper Michael Brown.
Four minutes later Alan Hutton played a one-two with
Gow, who cleverly back-heeled the return ball into his
colleague's path enabling him to make it 2-0.
Almost immediately afterwards Number Three duly
arrived when a Darcheville - Gow move split the
visitors' defence apart for Boyd to sweep the ball
Three goals in five minutes had killed the tie
stone-dead, but Rangers continued to press for more -
Darcheville seeing his flick held by Brown at the end
of a Gow - Boyd move in 38 minutes.
Two minutes later Brown defied Boyd, holding his flick
from a Gow cross.
'Shire at last tested Smith in 43 minutes, Kevin
McBride's twenty-yard free-kick being held by the home
Normal service was resumed before the interval however
- Boyd netting his second to make it 4-0 following a
penetrating Darcheville run.
Alan Gow came close to netting his first goal for the
club four minutes after the restart when he shot wide
from the edge of the box following a solo run.
A stunning McCulloch twenty-yard drive made it 5-0 in
fifty minutes from a Charlie Adam lay-off.
Nine minutes later Thomas Buffel replaced Darcheville,
and the Belgian Internationalist was on the park for
just sixty seconds before being fouled by McBride,
enabling Boyd to complete his hat-trick from the
Buffel again demonstarted his class and vision in 64
minutes when his 25-yard drive flashed inches over.
John Fleck received a great reception three minutes
later when he replaced Brahim Hemdani, and the
youngster showed some clever touches in his time on
Rangers played out the closing stages comfortable with
their emphatic win, and will now face Hibernian in the
RANGERS G. Smith; Hutton, Papac; Whittaker, Hemdani
(Fleck 67), Broadfoot; Gow, Adam, Boyd (Naismith 80),
McCulloch, Darcheville (Buffel 59)
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Cuellar
EAST STIRLING Brown; Gibb, McBride; Oates, Thywissen,
Kelly (Donaldson 36); McKenzie (Simpson 67), Brand,
Savage (King 83), Brownlie, Ure
UNUSED SUBS Mitchell, Doyle
REFEREE Crawford Allan