Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Rangers

Garner is hoping his hat-trick heroics can inspire a goal rush

Rangers 6 Hamilton Academical 0

By Andy Newport

Joe Garner hopes his Scottish Cup hat-trick against Hamilton can provide him with the spark he needs to hit the goal trail.

The £1.8m arrival from Preston has come to symbolise the failed signing policy embarked upon by former boss Mark Warburton.

Despite being the Gers' most costly piece of business over the last five years, he had managed just four goals in 23 appearances before Saturday's treble.

But Garner, who also struck against Dundee two weeks ago, hopes he has finally rediscovered his touch after helping Gers booked their place in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals with a 6-0 mauling of Accies.

He said: "I feel I've had a lot of chances recently but they just haven't been going in. If I go back through the games, I definitely should have a lot more goals.

"But I'm getting the chances so hopefully with a bit of luck a few will start going in."

Garner opened his account against Hamilton just two minutes after replacing Kenny Miller at half-time, doubling Rangers' lead after Martyn Waghorn's first-half penalty.

The 28-year-old Englishman then struck twice late on after Jon Toral and Clint Hill also found the net.

It was an eventful afternoon, with Garner appearing lucky not to be sent off after crunching into Hamilton midfielder Dougie Imrie with a crude challenge moments after his opening strike.

But Garner was just pleased to see caretaker boss Graeme Murty pick up another win in what is likely to be his last game in charge, with managerial frontrunner Pedro Caixinha closing in on landing the Ibrox job.

"I'm delighted with the hat-trick," said Garner. "It's always nice to score goals so it's great to get three and a win. There's been quite a bit of criticism but the lads played really well and hopefully we can take that form on to the Celtic game next week.

"The lads have improved under Graeme with every week.

"We spoke about it before the game, about how good a job he's done. I think all his hard work paid off. Should he be involved in the new set-up? That's nothing to do with the players.

"I'm sure they'll make the right decision, he deserves a lot of credit."

Focus now turns to next week's Old Firm showdown at Parkhead but Garner will miss out through a one-game ban.

He said: "I'm gutted to be suspended. But the lads will go there full of confidence and hopefully we get a good result.

"We've had a few bad results away from home but we've now put back-to-back wins together at Ibrox so we'll go into the Celtic game after a good victory."

Imrie could barely believe Garner did not walk after catching him with a tackle he claimed belonged in a UFC cage.

But he was just as frustrated at the result. He said: "I can't believe we lost 6-0. I thought first half we did really well. If our final ball up the park had been better we could've got a goal in front and that wasn't to be. That wasn't like us to be fair.

"We lost three goals from set plays which is disappointing but we've got to pick ourselves up for a massive game against Hearts."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph