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Scottish Challenge Cup: Rangers defeat Peterhead 4-0

By Andy Newport, Press Association Sport

Rangers have defeated Peterhead in the Scottish Challenge Cup to take the Petrofac Cup in front of a crowd of more than 48,000 at Hampden.

An early own-goal from Ally Gilchrist and a thunderous strike from James Tavernier put the Championship winners into an unassailable lead.

Andy Halliday added a penalty and Kenny Miller tapped home to make sure Rangers took the cup at the fourth attempt.

Celtic are the next opponents for Mark Warburton's side in next Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final.

Earlier Skipper Lee Wallace insisted Rangers owe it to their fans to put on a party in the Petrofac Training Cup final.

Around 48,000 Gers fans were expected to pack into Hampden Park for Sunday's showdown with Ladbrokes League One minnows Peterhead.

The match comes just five days after the Ibrox side finally brought their four-year nightmare to an end by clinching the Championship crown and promotion back to the top flight.

But with an Old Firm battle looming in next weekend's William Scottish Cup semi-final, the Light Blues could be forgiven for lacking a certain amount of excitement ahead of facing Jim McInally's men.

Wallace, however, believes the Rangers support deserve to see their team put on a show after their incredible show of support throughout the journey back from the bottom.

And he has promised to give Sunday's competition the respect it deserves by kicking off some jubilant celebrations if they come out on top this weekend.

The captain said: "We should certainly have won this competition before. This is our fourth attempt and it's been disappointing we've not been able to win it before.

"All those days ago you would have envisioned us winning three of them in consecutive seasons. That's not been the case.

"But we've finally got the chance this weekend and hopefully we will.

"It's still prestigious because when you play for Rangers it's great to win any trophy. Folk can ask if the celebrations will be muted or reserved - of course they won't be.

"We've got to grab this opportunity, no matter if it's one of the least regarded competitions. We would see that as being disrespectful. For the travelling fans, it would be only fair that if we go on to win it, we celebrate it right."

As if taking part in the lower-league tournament was not embarrassing enough for Gers, they have suffered a trio of mortifying exits.

Their first attempt at lifting it in 2012-13 ended with a quarter-final defeat to Queen of the South, while the following season they were stunned by John Baird's extra-time winner for Raith Rovers in the Easter Road final.

Perhaps worse was to come last season when Ally McCoist's team were dumped out by Alloa in the semi-finals despite leading 2-0 with 18 minutes left to play.

But new boss Mark Warburton is not interested in those previous tales of woe.

He said: "What Rangers should have done in the past is irrelevant. It's about now, it's about the current Rangers squad and developing a winning mentality."

Meanwhile, the Ibrox manager says he hopes to tie up a raft of new signings by the time his squad return for pre-season.

Having clinched promotion, the Englishman is already planning next year's assault on the top division and wants to add a handful of new faces.

He said: "The planning has been in place for weeks.

"Our targets are still playing in leagues and we have to make sure we don't impact that. We'll try and get the preparatory work done now so that when the time is right we can make our move.

"If we can get three out of our five or five out of seven of our targets, we'll be in good shape.

"We know we need four or five coming in. We'll lose a couple with the loan boys going back but we'll do our ground work now. Any loan players we get won't be until later in pre-season.

"We go back on June 18 and in an ideal scenario we'll have players on board by that date.

"We've already put our targets to the board and so far so good. But you don't know how it will pan out until the player signs for you as there are so many ifs and buts."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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