In the second game of the League Cup Group Stage, Rangers ran out convincing 2-0 winners over a stubborn Annan Athletic side.
Goals in either half made sure the victory was a comfortable one for Mark Warburton’s men. Barrie McKay found the net in the first half with one of his trademark zingers and Martyn Waghorn rounded off the night with a neat finish under Annan keeper Blair Currie.
Delighted to have made my debut tonight at Ibrox..good win and great support ⯑⚪️⯑ pic.twitter.com/v0Fo60RasR— Lee Hodson (@leehods2) July 19, 2016
Mark Warburton, as promised, rotated his starting XI, bringing in Matt Gilks, Lee Hodson, Niko Kranjcar, Clint Hill and Michael O’Halloran in from the start, with Kenny Miller, Harry Forrester, Wes Foderingham, James Tavernier, Danny Wilson and Jason Holt dropping out.
Rangers dominated throughout, and were in behind the Annan defence in the opening minutes, but Waghorn’s shot inside the box was snuffed out by Steven Swinglehurst and co. in the Annan rearguard.
The onslaught continued and it was Windass’ turn to go close. The impressive Niko Kranjcar sprayed a lovely pass out to Hodson, who combined with O’Halloran, and the winger's low cross found Windass but the young Englishman was snuffed out at the front post.
There was no let up and again Windass was involved in the next chance. He and McKay worked a short corner, the former Accrington Stanley player got to the by-line before floating a lovely cross to the back post for Lee Hodson but he was denied by an impressive stop from Blair Currie.
After all the dominance and chances, Rangers would take the lead on the half-hour mark. Lee Wallace and Barrie McKay exchanged passes, and the young winger unleashed an unstoppable drive beyond Currie – two goalkeepers would have struggled to save it.
The second half was much of the same and Wallace was next to come close. The skipper got on the end of Waghorn’s cheeky back-heel, but could only fire wide.
Wallace was again in the thick of the attacking action moments later. He stole the ball high inside the Annan half, found Waghorn and the striker played him back in, but Currie’s feet came to Annan’s rescue and left Wallace (and the 32,000 Rangers fans in the large Ibrox crowd) frustrated.
Waghorn was next to be denied by the on-form Annan stopper. McKay’s lovely piece of juggling and his perfectly weighted through ball gave Waghorn a clear shot at goal but Currie was equal to the effort.
On the hour mark, Rangers made a triple change. Kranjcar, Windass and McKay departed and Joey Barton, Kenny Miller and Harry Forrester entered the field of play. Indeed, Barton almost marked his debut with a goal, but his whipped free-kick flew just wide of Currie’s left-hand post.
Rangers kept pushing for the second and this time Andy Halliday’s great through ball didn’t get its rewards as Currie denied Kenny Miller.
Another 90 minutes and solid performance from the lads ⯑⯑! Pleased to get another goal too ⯑⯑⚽️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/ZQKF64I46J— Martyn Waghorn (@MWaghorn33) July 20, 2016
However, with 15 minutes left, Rangers would finally get their second through Waghorn. He latched on to Hodson’s neat pass, and showed all the calmness and composure in the world and found the back of the net.
It was another good exercise for the side, and it was nice to see more of the squad being utilised. With East Stirling coming up on Friday night, more changes are likely.
Rangers: Gilks; Hodson, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace; Kranjcar (Barton 60), Halliday, Windass (Forrester 60); McKay (Miller 60), O’Halloran, Waghorn.
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