Ayr United 0-2 Rangers: Teddy Bears make it five wins in a row
Petrofac Training Cup
Rangers made it five wins out of five under Mark Warburton with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ayr United in the Petrofac Training Cup.
First-half goals from Nicky Clark and Barrie McKay proved enough as Rangers took their goal tally to 19 for the season to progress to the quarter-finals of a competition they have not won in three attempts.
Warburton brought in five players including Tottenham loan pair Dominic Ball and Nathan Oduwa, who had sparked debate with his ambitious attempted flick on his debut at Alloa on Sunday.
The forward was given free reign behind Clark by Warburton but the home players were not so accommodating.
He was hacked down after five seconds and twice booted up in the air in fouls that earned Alan Trouten and Ross Caldwell first-half yellow cards.
Despite the changes, there was no drop in intensity to Rangers' early play and they took the lead inside 15 minutes.
Jason Holt played a one-two with Tom Walsh and his square ball was flicked home by Clark.
McKay saw a shot cleared off the line before Ayr settled down and on-loan Motherwell striker Craig Moore almost squeezed in a shot from near the byline after a sliced clearance from visiting goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.
James Tavernier had a powerful effort saved at the other end before Oduwa was booked himself for preventing Ayr taking a quick free-kick.
Rangers pressed for a second and Clark and Walsh had efforts blocked in quick succession before they doubled their lead with three minutes of the half remaining.
Walsh won possession from Brian Gilmour inside the Ayr half, drove forward and played the ball to his left to allow McKay to drill the ball inside the near post.
Alan Forrest - brother of Celtic winger James - was booked for diving in the Rangers box seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute.
Further bookings for Rangers pair Dean Shields and Lee Wallace along with Moore helped make it a scrappy start to the second half and referee Stephen Finnie also spoke to Warburton and Ayr boss Ian McCall.
McKay had a 20-yard strike saved before Holt stabbed wide as Rangers picked up the pace again.
Clark came closest to a third when he stabbed sub Martyn Waghorn's shot off the post from close range.
Moore almost made it an interesting finish when he turned and fired a yard over but the pressure proved too little, too late for the hosts.
Belfast Telegraph Digital