Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Lafferty and Davis sparkle as Rangers romp to victory

Kyle Lafferty holds off Hamilton Academical's Alex Neil during the CIS Insurance Cup match at Ibrox Stadium

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty was on target for Rangers last night as the Co-operative Insurance Cup holders made it through to the semi-finals by beating Hamilton at Ibrox.

Kris Boyd opened the scoring for the Gers and Fermanagh-man Lafferty put a seal on the win with the second goal in a 2-0 victory over the SPL’s bottom side.

Hamilton manager Billy Reid admits his side were simply outclassed, singling out Pedro Mendes and man of the match Northern Ireland international Steven Davis for praise.

"I've got a group of players in that dressing room who are exhausted," he said.

"We had to chase the ball all night and couldn't get near Mendes and Davis.

“We are not used to playing

against quality players like that and we know we were outclassed.

Kris Boyd had scored twice against Accies in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at the weekend and was on target again last night.

It proved to be a far more convincing victory for Rangers than Walter Smith's side achieved in their meeting with Partick in the previous round, when the holders required extra-time.

Smith made three changes from Saturday's clash, with the injured Kevin Thomson, DaMarcus Beasley and Kenny Miller replaced by Maurice Edu, Jean-Claude Darcheville and Lafferty.

Captain Barry Ferguson - out for five months with an ankle injury - was named on the bench but will have to wait until Saturday's SPL game against Inverness before making his return after Smith decided against using him.

Hamilton made two enforced changes following their 3-1 defeat at weekend. With Martin Canning cup-tied and Simon Mensing suspended, David Elebert and David Graham were drafted in.

The match was preceded by a minute of applause in memory of former Rangers player Ian McColl, who passed away at the weekend. Once under way, the home side had the best of the opening spell.

Boyd had an early opportunity to put Hamilton under pressure with a free-kick just outside the box. His long, low shot was well-struck but took a slight deflection and fizzed wide.

Sasa Papac then collected a short corner from Lafferty and delivered the ball to Boyd 10 yards from goal but his flicked header was held by goalkeeper Tomas Cerny.

Papac was the provider again with another decent ball into the box which was nodded on to Darcheville by Steven Davis only for the Frenchman to send his own header just over the crossbar.

Rangers' hard work paid off when they opened the scoring after 25 minutes, with the identity of the goalscorer no real surprise.

Darcheville's cut-back found Papac whose shot was blocked before the ball fell to Boyd. He saw his initial effort cleared off the line by Brian Easton, before stabbing home from close range at the second attempt.

Rangers were keen to add to their lead and piled on the pressure after the restart, with Boyd firing over after taking a pass from Darcheville.

It was Lafferty who doubled the advantage instead when he met a superb ball from Davis and left Cerny with no chance with a looping header from just outside the six-yard box with 50 minutes gone.

With Rangers firmly in control, Kirk Broadfoot ventured forward and skipped past two defenders before seeing his drive blocked by Cerny.

With just under 20 minutes to go, the small band of Hamilton fans screamed for a penalty when Richard Offiong went to ground under pressure from Madjid Bougherra but their protests were ignored by referee Eddie Smith.

Rangers knew a third goal would kill off any hope of a Hamilton comeback and Nacho Novo came close within seconds of coming off the bench, before Lafferty squandered the chance to add to his tally.

rangers: McGregor, Broadfoot, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Mendes, Edu, Lafferty, Darcheville, Boyd. Subs: Alexander, Ferguson, Novo, Miller, Whittaker.

Hamilton: Cerny, McClenahan, Swailes, Elebert, Easton, Graham, McArthur, Neil, McCarthy, Gibson, Akins. Subs: Murdoch, Casement, Offiong, Corcoran, Ettien.

Referee: E Smith (Scotland)