Jon Daly has Rangers still dreaming
Rangers 3 Airdrie 0: Jon Daly's blistering goalscoring form continued as he bagged a double to send Rangers into the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 3-0 win over Airdrie.
The Dublin man netted twice in the space of four second-half minutes to put the Light Blues in the driving seat at Ibrox.
David Templeton then came off the bench to secure the win with an 80th-minute strike to ensure there was no late comeback from the Diamonds.
For Daly, the brace saw him take his tally to seven goals in the last four games.
This win may have been less convincing than the 6-0 thrashing Rangers claimed away from home the last time the sides met in Scottish League One business in August, but the victory provided their second cup success in less than a week after booking their place in the Ramsdens Cup final by dumping Stenhousemuir on Tuesday.
Ally McCoist's men will learn their opponents for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup when the draw takes place on Tuesday.
Rangers made one enforced change from the midweek game at Ochilview.
Kyle Hutton made his first start of the season, after recovering from injury, and replaced the suspended Ian Black.
Ahead of kick-off, Abba classic 'Fernando' was played in tribute to former player Fernando Ricksen, who this week revealed he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
There was also a minute of applause by fans after two minutes – reflecting his squad number – in support of the Dutchman.
On the park, Hutton looked dangerous early on, seeing an effort deflected wide, before forcing a save from Tony Bullock at the near post with a shot from a tight angle.
There was slight concern for the home side at the other end thanks to Lee McCulloch's unconvincing attempt at clearing Jamie Bain's cross but goalkeeper Cammy Bell claimed the ball to snuff out any danger.
Rangers dominated much of the possession but struggled to find a breakthrough.
Nicky Clark saw his header whistle over the crossbar, before Bilel Mohsni's tame effort from the edge of the box was smothered by the goalkeeper.
McCulloch then met Arnold Peralta's free-kick from the right with a firm header that he bulleted just past the upright.
After a goalless first half, Rangers opened the scoring just three minutes after the restart.
Attempts by the Airdrie defence to clear a Peralta ball into the box fell as far as Daly who unleashed into the far bottom corner.
The Irishman doubled the scoreline – and his tally on the night – four minutes later.
This time, he threw himself in front of Richard Foster's cross and left Bullock with no chance with the header.
There was controversy after 64 minutes when Darren McCormack smothered the ball with his body in the area and referee John Beaton awarded an indirect free-kick despite claims for a penalty.
McCulloch's shot from next to the penalty spot then failed to make it past the wall of Airdrie players strung across the goal.
Seconds later, Daly was denied his hat-trick when his shot was hooked off the line, as Rangers pressed for more goals.
The home side made two changes in quick succession, with Lewis Macleod replaced by Templeton, before Clark made way for Andy Little.
And Templeton put the tie beyond Airdrie with 10 minutes to go when he met Nicky Law's cut-back 15 yards out and stroked home goal number three for Rangers.