Rangers turned on the style last night to demolish Dunfermline 6-0 in the Betfred Cup Second Round. In a game full of great goals, good chances and nice football, the most exciting aspect was the attitude and desire of our players.
During the warm up, Lee Wallace picked up a slight injury, so wasn’t risked. Hodson was brought into the starting line-up, with McCrorie able to take his place on the bench.
Before the clock had hit five minutes, Rangers were one ahead. Morelos won the ball high up the park, and linked well with Miller to get to the byline. His cutback found Dorrans, who hit a good left-foot shot that the keeper saved very well. The rebound fell to Miller, who sold two defenders with his touch and lashed it home from six yards. Pedro celebrated as enthusiastically as any fan on the side of the pitch, knowing that a quick goal was exactly what we needed.
Inside a minute, it was almost two, Miller denied his second by the offside flag. It would seem that the decision went against Hodson after his run through on the left rather than for the ball across.
It was a very brief respite for Dunfermline though. Morelos chased down a deflected ball towards the Dunfermline box, and was fouled. Bruno Alves set up the freekick on the angle of the box, and the crowd rose in anticipation. The big Portuguese defender didn’t disappoint, and lashed it home in the near top corner. The fans went nuts, not only to be 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, but also with the quality of the goal. It was an expected moment of class from a great player.
Dunfermline almost scored a free kick of their own not long after. Declan McManus used the David Luiz technique to hit one from 25 yards which deflected off the bar. That was probably the best moment of the match for Dunfermline.
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The third goal came very quickly, and showed the sort of attacking intent Caixinha is asking from our team. Tavernier cut out a ball on the edge of his own box, took one touch, and sent Candeias beyond the Dunfermline full back. Candeias checked back to square the ball to Miller, who took his time to allow Morelos to run around him before playing him through. One on one with the keeper, the Colombian lashed the ball through Murdoch and scored his first Rangers goal. His celebration briefly took him into the Union Bears and resulted in a yellow card, but his passion and excitement raised the fan mood even higher.
And then it was four! Tavernier won the ball just inside the Dunfermline half, fed it to Miller and continued his run. Miller found him with a through ball, and Tavernier finished well for his first goal in almost a year.
Less than half-an-hour gone, four goals, and good chances for more. At this point, I turned to my boy and asked “who do you think man of the match is so far?”. We didn’t have a definitive answer, such was the performance from so many of the players.
The last 15 minutes of the first half were played out at a slower tempo. Rangers had earned the right to take a break and slow things down.
Caixinha must have asked them to turn it back up at half time, though, because we came out with goalscoring intent straight away. Some last ditch defending denied Morelos a second goal, before a deflected free kick was put into the path of Miller, who hit the side netting.
Miller won a free kick around 25 yards out on the 55th minute, and the crowd asked for Alves yet again. He was substituted at this point for Wilson (although both Danny and Pedro asked him if he wanted the set piece first), and Candeias was given the responsibility. Curling it around the wall, he found the top corner and celebrated like he’d won a tight game in the last minute. It was a deserved goal given his performance.
5-0 down at Ibrox, the crowd in a great mood, and Dunfermline had over 30 minutes to see out. Miller was replaced by Kranjcar not long after the fifth, and Holt replaced Dorrans.
The final goal came from some good play by Windass and Kranjcar in midfield. Niko found Tavernier in space on the right, and his driving run took him past the defenders. His shot to the keeper’s left was saved, but Morelos followed up to put it away for his second of the night. The celebration was a little more muted, but the fans were every bt as happy. We may just have a goalscorer in our ranks.
A decent chance for the Morelos hat-trick was saved by Murdoch towards the end of the match. The ball fell to Alfredo around 10 yards out on the angle, and his right foot shot was palmed away.
Caixinha has mentioned in many press conferences that he wants the players to match the passion of the support. He got exactly that from many players last night. It’s fair to say Dunfermline crumbled after the second goal, and didn’t offer a huge challenge, but some of the performances and the overall intent were very encouraging.
Alnwick; Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves (Wilson, 56), Hodson; Candeias, Rossiter, Dorrans (Holt, 69), Windass; Miller (Kranjcar, 59), Morelos.
SUBS: Foderingham, Jack, Hodson, Hardie, McCrorie.
Murdoch, Williamson, Martin, Morris, Ashcroft, Higginbotham (Shiels 62), Wedderburn, McManus, Paton, Cardle (Lochhead, 68), Hopkirk (Mvoto, .
SUBS: Gill, Splaine, Talbot, Smith.
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