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Niko Kranjcar nets maiden strike in Rangers Stranraer victory

Rangers 3 - Stranraer 0

By Andy Newport

Published 26/07/2016

Net gain: Martyn Waghorn puts Rangers ahead with an early penalty, the first of two goals the striker scored in a comfortable victory over Stranraer, to book a last 16 spot in the Betfred Cup
Net gain: Martyn Waghorn puts Rangers ahead with an early penalty, the first of two goals the striker scored in a comfortable victory over Stranraer, to book a last 16 spot in the Betfred Cup

Niko Kranjcar's first Rangers goal helped book the Ibrox side's place in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup after a comfortable 3-0 win over Stranraer.

Martyn Waghorn put Mark Warburton's team in control against the League One part-timers with two early goals - the first from the penalty spot - before Croatian international Kranjcar opened his account eight minutes into the second period.

The Gers now top Group F with four straight wins, having notched up 10 goals and conceded none.

As well as Kranjcar's maiden strike, the 29,575 strong Ibrox crowd also got their first look at former Liverpool youngster Jordan Rossiter when the midfielder made his debut as a second-half substitute just days after returning to action with England at the Under-19 European Championships.

Warburton again mixed his side up, making six changes to the team which overcame East Stirlingshire on Friday, with summer capture Joey Barton handed his first start in blue.

But it was Barrie McKay - along with skipper Lee Wallace and Andy Halliday the only Gers players to have started all four matches in the competition so far - who did the damage just three minutes in.

His trickery down the left was too much for ex-Kilmarnock youngster Ross Barbour to handle and the right-back's clumsy challenge as the Scotland international drove into the box cost his side a penalty.

Stranraer goalkeeper Cameron Belford got down to Waghorn's effort, but he couldn't keep it out of the net.

Belford did better as he denied Danny Wilson after spilling James Tavernier's strike.

But team-mate Mark McGuigan did his number one no favours with a dreadful back-pass on 16 minutes and Waghorn pounced, galloping in on goal before beating Belford for a second time with a little help from Barbour's deflection.

Waghorn blazed the chance for a first-half hat-trick over the bar. Soon after Harry Forrester and Tavernier should also have made more of decent scoring opportunities ahead of the interval. But there was no keeping out Kranjcar's goal on 53 minutes.

Waghorn's touch got away from him, but the ball sat up perfectly for the former Tottenham and Portsmouth playmaker, who dispatched his 18-yard strike into the corner of the net.

Rossiter's introduction came just after the hour mark as he replaced Barton - who had looked rusty having managed just half an hour of action previously - while Joe Dodoo was also given a run-out.

The ex-Anfield teenager did not hold back with a couple of full-blooded tackles quickly gaining him the backing of his new club's supporters.

Substitute Kenny Miller had two goes at adding a fourth late on but wasted both.

Belfast Telegraph

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