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Warburton off to dream start as Rangers sparkle

Rangers 3-0 Peterhead

By Andy Newport

Published 03/08/2015

On target: Kenny Miller found the back of the net in his side's comprehensive win over Peterhead in the Scottish League Cup
On target: Kenny Miller found the back of the net in his side's comprehensive win over Peterhead in the Scottish League Cup
Rangers' new manager Mark Warburton started his reign in a strong fashion

Rangers boss Mark Warburton marked his competitive bow at Ibrox with a 3-0 victory over Peterhead in the first round of the Scottish League Cup.

David Templeton, Kenny Miller and James Travernier all struck to ensure the former Brentford boss enjoyed a winning introduction.

The Light Blues now go into the hat for Monday's second-round draw, and Warburton and his number two Davie Weir will be pleased with the way their new-look team are shaping up ahead of next Friday's Ladbrokes Championship opener with St Mirren.

Confidence is surging through the Ibrox ranks after last week's 6-2 drubbing of promotion rivals Hibernian in the Petrofac Training Cup.

That stunning result sent out a message of intent and boss Warburton went largely with the same side who kicked off the campaign in such emphatic style, with the inclusion of Dean Shiels for the benched Jason Holt the Englishman's only switch.

But like that Easter Road display, Gers took their time building up a rhythm.

The link-up was intricate but not always accurate, while the finishing could have been sharper.

But after 25 minutes the home side finally looked ready to click. Nicky Law came close with a header while Martyn Waghorn and Barrie McKay combined to cut the Peterhead defence open as they sent Lee Wallace in on Graeme Smith, but the former Rangers goalkeeper raced out to block.

Warburton told the likes of McKay and Templeton to stretch Jim McInally's side by staying wide. And the ploy worked a treat as the former teed up the latter after collecting Andy Halliday's cross-field ball, with Templeton putting his side ahead as he steered the ball into the corner of the net four minutes from the break.

Halliday and opposition striker Rory McAlister were lucky the half did not end on a sour note as they clashed on the touchline but referee Greg Aitken took no action.

Gers continued to surge forward early in the second period. Ryan Strachan cleared Waghorn's deflected shot off the line before the striker put another effort over the bar.

McKay should have doubled his team's lead but tugged his finish wide after galloping in behind the visitors' rear-guard.

Shiels was then denied a certain goal by another fine Smith save after dancing into the box, but the second did arrive with quarter of an hour left as substitute Miller finished off at the back post after Travernier had burst into the box to cross.

Waghorn's efforts up front should have also been rewarded with a place on the scoresheet but his curling effort from 20 yards was stopped by the left post.

It was Travernier who put a gloss on the scoreline as he thumped past Smith with eight minutes left.

The Ibrox crowd rose with appreciation as their side went after a fourth in the closing stages, but Waghorn could not follow up last week's Easter Road double as Smith again saved in stoppage time.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace, Shiels, Halliday, Law (Holt 58), McKay (Clark 71), Waghorn, Templeton (Miller 58)

Subs not used: Aird, Zaliukas, Kelly

Goals: Templeton 41, Miller 76, Tavernier 82

Peterhead: Smith, Blockley, Ross, Strachan, Noble, Stevenson (McIntosh 54), Brown (Ferries 67), Redman (Rodgers 76), Sutherland, Dzierzawski, McAllister

Subs not used: Adams, Lawrence, Baptie, Jarvie

Referee: Greg Aitken

Attendance: 25,608

Belfast Telegraph

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