Rangers ease to 5-0 win over Peterhead at Ibrox in Betfred Cup

Rangers' Niko Kranjcar celebrates scoring his side's first goal
Rangers' Niko Kranjcar celebrates scoring his side's first goal

Rangers overwhelmed Peterhead 5-0 at Ibrox to march into the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup.

Niko Kranjcar slammed home the 18th-minute opener as well as laying on two goals for defender Clint Hill.

An own goal from Peterhead defender Fiarce Kelleher and Joe Dodoo’s first Ibrox strike put the seal on a miserable night for the League One minnows, who ended the match with 10 men after midfielder Nathan Blockley received a straight red card for a wild lunge on Joey Barton.

Mark Warburton made six changes from Saturday with Matt Gilks, Lee Hodson, Michael O’Halloran, Jordan Rossiter, Harry Forrester and Dodoo coming in for Wes Foderingham, Lee Wallace, Andy Halliday, Barrie McKay, Kenny Miller and the injured Martyn Waghorn.

The cup tie had a relatively quiet opening although Rangers were certainly dominating possession without really threatening visiting goalkeeper Graeme Smith’s charge.

That all changed on 19 minutes when Kranjcar opened the scoring with an explosive 20-yard drive from a Dodoo pass.

Dodoo – along with Rossiter – was making his first start in Light Blue, and the former Leicester forward almost added a second with a delightful turn and shot from a Barton pass six minutes later only for Smith to prove equal to the task.

Rossiter has been amongst the most impressive of the new Ibrox intake, and just after the half-hour mark a superb slide-rule pass inside the full-back found the overlapping James Tavernier whose shot on the run was turned over by Smith.

A second goal appeared inevitable and it duly arrived on 35 minutes when from Kranjcar’s corner the high ball was missed by the Peterhead central defence, the ball falling perfectly at the back post for Hill to slot home from close range for his first goal for the club.

Rangers went all out for more, and former Ibrox ‘keeper Smith denied O’Halloran soon afterwards, blocking his shot from a Rossiter pass.

Eight years ago Graeme Smith was an unused substitute in the UEFA Cup Final and he was clearly relishing his return to the stadium, producing a superb one-handed save to turn wide Dodoo’s angled left-footed effort from a Kranjcar pass.

There was no let-up for the Division One outfit following the half-time break with Dodoo, desperate to open his Ibrox account, bursting through in the opening seconds only to be blocked by the outrushing Smith.

Two minutes later it was 3-0 when O’Halloran’s pace carried him clear of the left flank of the visitors’ defence, his hard driven cross being turned into his own net by Cork-born Kelleher, currently on loan from Celtic.

Things went from bad to worse for Peterhead on 55 minutes when Blockley was red-carded following a shocking two-footed tackle on Barton.

From the subsequent Kranjcar free-kick Rob Kiernan, making his 50th competitive appearance for the club, saw his bullet header turned over by Smith but the ‘keeper needn’t have bothered for from Niko’s corner Hill rose to head home his second of the night for goal number four.

Warburton made a triple substitution just after the hour with Barrie McKay, Andy Halliday and Jason Holt coming on for Kranjcar, Rossiter and Barton.

Rangers continued to hunt for more goals and Dodoo made in 5-0 on 65 minutes when he stabbed home Tavernier’s cutback after the left flank of the opposition defence had been cut open once again.

Rangers: Wilks; Tavernier, Hill, Kiernan, Hodson; O’Halloran, Rossiter (Halliday 61), Barton (Holt 61), Kranjcar (McKay 61), Forrester; Dodoo

Unused Subs: Foderingham, Miller, Bates

Peterhead: Smith; Strachan, Noble; Ross (McIntosh 53), Rumsby, Kelleher; Stevenson (Riley 53), Redman (Nassor 61), McAllister, Ferry, Blockley

Unused Subs: Dzierzawski, Hobday, Brown, Samuels

Referee: Andrew Dallas