Rangers ease past Albion Rovers to book place in semi-finals

Rangers Bilel Mohsni  challenges Albion Rovers  Neil Parry
Rangers Bilel Mohsni challenges Albion Rovers Neil Parry

Rangers eased their way past Albion Rovers at the second attempt with a 2-0 win to set up a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final tie against Dundee United at Ibrox in April.

The Light Blues were taken to a quarter-final replay by the Second Division side with a 1-1 draw at Ibrox last week but there was never any danger of a shock at New Douglas Park.

Ally McCoist rang the changes for last night’s replay – five in total from Saturday – with more than one surprise in his starting line-up as Lee Wallace, Calum Gallagher, Kyle Hutton, Nicky Law and Jon Daly came in for Sebastien Faure, Arnold Peralta, Robbie Crawford, Steven Smith and Nicky Clark.

On the artificial surface of New Douglas Park, Rangers went flat out from the opening minutes to secure an early advantage. Rovers equally adopted the same solid compact defensive line that had served them so well in the first game.

Gallagher’s inclusion on the right side of midfield was reward for the impact he had made as a substitute against Dunfermline – and the youngster justified his inclusion in the 18th minute when his fine cross from the wing was superbly volleyed home by Fraser Aird to give Rangers a crucial opener.

Seven minutes later Crawford was denied an equaliser when his drive was beaten out by Cammy Bell.

Gallagher’s direct running and goal threat was giving Rangers an extra dimension and he almost got his name on the scoresheet again before the interval when his shot was held by home goalkeeper Neil Parry.

Rangers restarted in determined fashion and a surging run by Aird seven minutes in almost led to a chance when the ball broke to Lee Wallace whose hard driven cross was inches away from the inrushing Daly.

Just before the hour mark Jon Daly made it 2-0 when he rose at the far post to head home a deep hanging cross from Richard Foster.

Neil Parry may have had little chance with either goal – but he produced the save of night midway through the second-half when turning the ball wide after his own defender Barry Russell’s attempted clearance cannoned goal-wards off Nicky Law.

Rangers were coasting now – content to play out time – and Law almost added a third in the final minute.