Rangers won 3-0 in an uninspiring match against Fraserburgh at Bellslea Park. The win sees the team progress to the next round against Ayr United, and will be considered job done. However, Murty will have seen a few things that concern him, and will no doubt look for much better from the team in upcoming matches.
Rangers started the match with 6 changes to the starting team from their last couple of matches. Hodson replaced the suspended Tavernier and Alnwick started in goals. Cardoso came in for Russell Martin, with Halliday playing next to Holt in midfield. Niko Kranjcar was started and Cummings made his first start up front.
With the pitch being heavy and the wind having an effect, it seemed to take Rangers time to get used to their surroundings. Passes were being blocked or played out of the pitch. In the first 10 minutes, the only chance of note was a Fraserburgh free kick on the edge of the box. Thankfully for Rangers, that was hit off the wall and eventually cleared.
The first chance Rangers created was on 11 minutes. A good ball into Kranjcar found him in space on the edge of the box. His touch and pass for Cummings was excellent, but the striker was unable to get his shot over the on-rushing goalkeeper.
On the 14th minute, a similar combination led to the opening goal. Again, Kranjcar was found in space and played a through ball to Cummings. His touch got away from him, but Holt was running through. The midfielder looked set to score before being brought down by the defender for a penalty. Josh Windass stepped up to take it, and placed the ball into the bottom corner beyond the diving goalkeeper.
From there, it took over 10 minutes to create another chance of note. Halliday drove forward and looked to link with Cummings. The ball from the striker found Kranjcar, and his shot hit the bar from around the edge of the box.
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The game really got quite scrappy from there. The lack of quality was summed up by a Daniel Candeias shot on 26 minutes that went out for a throw in as the wind caught the ball. Neither side created anything of real note for the rest of the half.
For all the issues with the surface and weather, the main problem Rangers had was attitude. They were playing far too slowly and didn’t look like a team who were committed to the game. It was hoped that they would pick up in the second half.
After 10 minutes of the half, Rangers made it 2-0. Again, Kranjcar was found with a good ball, and his flick to Cummings looked set to tee up the striker for an effort. The ball was just too far in front of him, however, and his mis-hit shot fell to Windass. The first time effort with the right foot by the Englishman made the score 2-0.
In 62 minutes, Fraserburgh created a good chance. They fought to win the ball on the Rangers right, and Beagrie got some space for a shot. His effort was wide of the far post, however.
Five minutes later, Windass completed his hattrick. Kranjcar had time and space in the centre of the park, and played it to Windass. His run on the left saw him cut inside on to his right foot. The shot was kept low and beat the keeper at his near post.
The game largely played out without much incident from there. Fraserburgh had a couple of attempts which missed target, and Candeias had a shot saved. The only real talking point was a red card for Johnston of Fraserburgh, only a few minutes after coming on as a sub. The challenge did merit the sending off.
This was a rather turgid affair, but maybe that should have been expected. Rangers got the job done, don’t seem to have picked up any injuries, and can move on to the next round against Ayr United.