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Joey Barton makes his bow as Rangers stroll to victory

Rangers 2-0 Annan

By Andy Newport

Published 20/07/2016

Big-name signing: Joey Barton makes his Rangers debut last night, coming on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Annan at Ibrox
Big-name signing: Joey Barton makes his Rangers debut last night, coming on as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Annan at Ibrox

Joey Barton made his long-awaited Rangers debut as the Ibrox side claimed a 2-0 Betfred Cup win over Annan at Ibrox.

Mark Warburton gave the former England midfielder the last half an hour of the Group F clash and got an insight into what he is capable of with his energy and tenacity.

However, the highlight of an otherwise low-key opening home fixture was Barrie McKay's sensational long-range opener after 30 minutes.

Martyn Waghorn killed off Jim Chapman's side with the second goal 15 minutes from time.

As well as Barton's second-half run-out, the Ibrox faithful got a first glimpse of fellow new signings Matt Gilks, Clint Hill and Northern Ireland international Lee Hodson, while Josh Windass and Niko Kranjcar also started following their debuts in Saturday's 2-0 win over Motherwell.

But Joe Dodoo's arrival from Leicester on a four-year deal earlier yesterday came too late for the striker to feature against the League Two minnows.

Having got off to a slow start against Well, Gers were hoping to make more of an impact this time. Michael O'Halloran and Windass looked lively down the flanks, while Kranjcar's quality in midfield was obvious.

But while Rangers had almost sole use of the ball it took them half an hour to find the breakthrough.

It was worth the wait though as McKay produced a strike even sweeter than one he netted against Celtic last season.

Cutting in from the left, the Scotland winger unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard drive which Annan goalkeeper Blair Currie had no chance of keeping out.

Currie had done better with two efforts from Hodson, though, first parrying the former Kilmarnock full-back's header from point-blank range before pushing away a long-range shot.

A slick combination move involving McKay, Waghorn and Lee Wallace should have produced a second goal but the Ibrox skipper prodded his shot wide, while Kranjcar was denied by Currie.

That was the Croatian's last involvement as Barton was introduced on the hour to a deafening cheer from the 31,500-strong crowd. He almost made himself an instant hero with just his second touch, whipping a 20-yard free-kick just wide of the target.

Fellow sub Kenny Miller was foiled by another Currie save but Waghorn was not to be halted as he followed up his weekend Fir Park strike with another composed finish after Hodson rolled the ball in behind the Annan defence.

Belfast Telegraph

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