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Rangers have a double reason to celebrate

Rangers 4 - Peterhead 0

By Andy Newport

Published 11/04/2016

Cuppa cheer: Treble-chasing Rangers players celebrate their final win over minnows Peterhead
Cuppa cheer: Treble-chasing Rangers players celebrate their final win over minnows Peterhead

Rangers finally claimed the Petrofac Training Cup at the fourth time of asking after crushing Peterhead 4-0 at Hampden Park.

The Ibrox men had suffered three previous humiliating exits from the lower-league knock-out competition but there was never any danger of a repeat after Ally Gilchrist's own goal put Mark Warburton's side ahead.

James Tavernier smashed home a stunning volley for the second while late goals from Andy Halliday and Kenny Miller got the party started.

That left it to skipper Lee Wallace to lead the newly-crowned Ladbrokes Championship winners up the Hampden steps to collect the trophy for what should be the first and last time.

Cheered on by a huge 48,000-strong Gers support, the Light Blues recorded what they hope will be the first of two victories at the national stadium in the space of a week as they chase a trophy treble.

The Light Blues used the clash as a dry run for next week's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic at the same venue and even named the side largely expected to take on their Old Firm rivals, with on-loan Tottenham defender Dom Ball anchoring the midfield.

Peterhead, meanwhile, brought back the six men rested by boss Jim McInally for last week's 2-0 defeat at Forfar, including 31-goal striker Rory McAllister.

The League One minnows looked up for the battle as the game got under way and it took Gers a quarter-of-an-hour to muster their first attacks of note, with Harry Forrester and Halliday both seeing shots deflected out for corners - but it was a low-key start from Warburton's team.

However, they were given a helping hand after 18 minutes when Gilchrist put through his own net.

The Blue Toon defender tried to cut out Miller's cross after the veteran Rangers hitman drove down the left and slung over a low cross but his intervention sent the ball past goalkeeper Smith and the Ibrox men finally took control.

Losing such a meek opener seemed to deflate Peterhead and they retreated into a defensive shape.

Miller tested Smith when he flicked a header goalward, while the former Ibrox stopper dealt comfortably with Tavernier's 18-yard strike.

But the right-back's next effort five minutes before the break was unstoppable. With the ball bouncing around the Peterhead box, Miller nudged it back for the Englishman, who lashed a sensational volley into the top corner.

Scott Ross came close to a lifeline for McInally's battlers but he saw his header from Kevin Dzierzawski's corner-kick expertly blocked on the Gers' line by midfielder Jason Holt.

The bumpy Hampden surface - relaid only last month - hardly helped Gers' passing game but Halliday had no excuses as he failed to find the net with a close-range header 15 minutes into the second period.

Rangers' pace dropped as the game entered its closing stages but they could have extended their lead had Miller and Halliday both not somehow contrived to miss the net from point-blank range.

But both made amends in the final five minutes.

First Halliday rolled home his 85th-minute spot-kick after Blue Toon skipper Steven Noble felled Holt as he drove into the box, while Miller swept in the fourth after Michael O'Halloran danced his way to the by-line before cutting back.

RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, D Wilson, Wallace (O'Halloran 67), Holt, Ball, Halliday, Forrester (King 67),

Miller, McKay (Shiels 78).

Subs Not Used: Bell, Law, Zelalem, Clark.

Booked: Danny Wilson.

Goals: Gilchrist 17 og, Tavernier 40, Halliday 85 pen, Miller 89.

PETERHEAD: Smith, Strachan (Stevenson 26), Ross, Gilchrist, Noble,

Redman (McIntosh 64), Ferry, Dzierzawski, Brown, Sutherland (Riley 58), McAllister.

Subs Not Used: Jarvie, Blockley, Ferries, Rodgers.

Booked: Ross, Dzierzawski, Riley.

Man of the match: James Tavernier

Match rating: 8/10

Attendance: 48,133

Referee: George Salmond (Scotland).

Belfast Telegraph

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