Dean Shiels on mark as Rangers hit Airdrie with goal blitz
Dean Shiels was among the goals as rampant Rangers hit Airdrie with a goal blitz as they cruised into the third round of the League Cup with a 5-0 win at the Excelsior Stadium.
Nicky Clark, Andy Halliday and Martyn Waghorn all netted inside the first quarter-hour to put their team on easy street.
Shiels - who last played for Northern Ireland in 2012 and wasn't named in Michael O'Neill's squad for next month's European qualifiers - and James Tavernier then added the gloss late on as Mark Warburton's team extended their triumphant start to the campaign to seven straight wins.
Gary Bollan's Diamonds barely got a sniff of the ball for large spells but will be pleased the damage was not worse as the Ibrox men booked their place in today's Hampden draw.
Warburton freshened up his side as he looked to avoid a slip-up on Airdrie's plastic pitch, with debutants Dominic Ball and Gedion Zelalem making their first starts after moving north on loan from Tottenham and Arsenal.
Shiels, Nathan Oduwa and Clark also came in to replace Danny Wilson, Jason Holt, Nicky Law, Barry McKay and Kenny Miller.
But if anything, Gers looked even slicker on the Excelsior astroturf than they have done already this season.
It took just five minutes to make their superiority count as Halliday fired a quick free-kick from the right towards the front post, where Clark had arrived to turn home.
Just getting hold of the ball was a challenge for the hosts, with Rangers at one point during the first half boasting 81 per cent of the possession.
American youth international Zelalem - who only checked into Murray Park on Monday - showed plenty of clever touches in midfield and played a key role in Gers' second as he combined with Shiels to tee-up Halliday 20 yards out, with the former Bradford man rifling past Airdrie stopper Neil Parry after 14 minutes.
And the 18-year-old's role in the third less than a minute later was even more impressive as he swept a defence-splitting pass to Waghorn just as the former Wigan Athletic man was darting into the box.
The striker kept a cool head, checking inside before stroking the ball under Parry.
The onslaught eased towards half-time and Airdrie did manage a couple of efforts after the interval as Bryan Prunty and David Cox both fired over.
They thought they had stemmed the flow but with seven minutes left Shiels pounced on the rebound from his own saved shot to ram home the fourth.
Right-back Tavernier then grabbed his fifth goal in seven games after storming into the box to shoot past Parry.
AIRDRIE: Parry, Bain, Crighton, Lithgow, O'Neil, Stewart, Watt, Smith (Brown 72), Morton, Cox (Morgan 78), Prunty (Sumsky 60).
Subs not used: Van Zanten, Ferguson, Glackin, Cadden.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Ball, Wallace, Zelalem, Halliday (McKay 72), Shiels, Clark, Waghorn (Hardie 62), Oduwa.
Goals: Clark 5, Halliday 14, Waghorn 15, Shiels 84, Tavernier 88.
Subs not used: Law, Miller, Holt, Wilson, Kelly.
Man of the match: Halliday
Referee: Euan Anderson