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Rangers 6 Accies 0 – Scottish Cup

Web reporter Mark Gillespie gives us his take on Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter final at Ibrox

William Hill Scottish Cup 

Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow 

Saturday 4th March 2017 at 12.30pm. 

Rangers 6 Hamilton Academical 0

Accies bowed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup on what turned out to be a difficult and controversial afternoon at Ibrox. Crucial refereeing decisions didn’t go the Accies way and along with some poor set piece defending, Rangers ultimately romped their way to a semi-final place.

It was emphatic enough for the home side in the end but Accies attention was inevitably focused on three decisions which directly impacted on the game’s outcome. With a Foderingham handling incident and Garner challenge that should have maybe seen him walk. Not to mention a penalty kick at the soft end of the scale that broke the deadlock during a tight first half, before Gers set pieces quashed any hopes of a fightback in the second half. 

Accies boss Martin Canning tried to find the words to describe the torrid afternoon, “It’s one of those days where nothing’s gone for us. There’s a lot of what if’s, but I’ll never criticise referees. I spoke with John Beaton at half time about the penalty and he says Grant Gillespie brought one of their players down in the box, but when you see it on TV it’s very soft. I also thought Garner’s tackle on Dougie Imrie was a straight red. But as frustrating as the decisions were, I know referees have a difficult job. And none of this excuses our defending.” 

It was a performance in marked contrast to Tuesday’s heroic backs against the walls display against Aberdeen, with the manager disappointed to lose three goals from identical Barrie McKay corner kicks. “Given how well we defended our box on Tuesday night, I think it’s just a mentality thing, and not realising the consistency required every week at this level. I don’t think we defended with the same desire as Tuesday night which was disappointing. We lost five avoidable goals today.” 

“At one nil at half time I thought we were well in the game, but we conceded right after half time from poor defending at a set piece which has never been an issue for us all season. To lose three in the one game is really disappointing for me. I can’t even blame fatigue, I think the heads have just gone down late on as we lost cheap goals.” 

With Redmond and MacKinnon suspended, and Steven Boyd cup tied, Accies made four changes from Tuesday’s win. Matthews returned in goal for Woods, with Donati back in midfield. Fit again Ali Crawford got his first start since being injured in last month’s match with Inverness Caley Thistle with Adams slotted in for McMann out on the wing. 

Rangers meanwhile started with the same side as the midweek win over St Johnstone, and carried that early momentum into the game’s early stages. Hyndman and Waghorn were looking purposeful, with McKay also a persistent danger throughout. Then with nine minutes played he provided the opening chance, as he got down the left to pick out Hyndman in the box, with Matthews showing good reactions to save with his legs from close range. 

But then after a rocky opening Accies began to settle into the game and see a lot more of the ball. A first glimpse of goal came when Adams got down the flank and whipped a cross into Kurtaj inside the box, but his shot was blocked. Then Bingham was clearly denied by Foderingham’s handball outside his area, a close call, but missed by the officials. 

Rangers looked to step things up on the half hour, in a spell in which they took a decisive grip on the game. One minute after a spectacular Miller volley from McKay’s cross struck the bar, they were awarded a spot kick after a tangle of bodies inside the box. Gillespie was eventually penalised for what seemed an innocuous challenge on Toral, and Waghorn stepped up to send Matthews the wrong way. 

The Rangers striker then looked in the mood for more and drove at theAccies defence, pulling another effort just wide on 39 minutes, before powering just over from McKay’s cross three minutes later. Accies looked content to see things out until half time with only that penalty kick separating the sides.  

But before plan B could be implemented, Accies found a mountain to climb right after the break. Rangers had brought Garner on for Miller at half time and the sub made the instant impact his side were looking for, when he nodded home from a McKay corner, just a minute into the half. 

The Accies woes just continued after that as the stretcher had to be called for Adams after a collision in the box with Garner on 58 minutes, with McMann his replacement from the bench. Garner had already been very fortunate to stay on the pitch after a dangerous touchline lunge at Imrie, with Imrie himself even luckier to be able to play on uninjured.  

Accies had to shuffle things with the loss of Sarris and Adams, losing their shape, and Rangers took full advantage to give their victory a more emphatic look. Matthews made a great save from a Toral header on 77 minutes, but the midfielder wasn’t to be denied as from the resulting corner his shot was deflected home for number three.  

Set piece defending continued to be the Accies achilles heel as Rangers soon added a fourth from another in swinging McKay corner with Clint Hill on hand to nod past Matthews unchallenged four minutes later. 

The agony was still complete though, as Garner completed his late hat trick, firstly pouncing on a slack Gillespie back pass to round Matthews and score, before an injury time shot from another McKay corner deflected high past the Accies keeper to complete what was now a cup rout. 

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Hill, Kiernan, Wallace (c), Toral, Miller (Garner 45), McKay, Hyndman (Forrester 82), Holt, Waghorn (O’Halloran 74).  Subs Unused: Alnwick, Wilson, Halliday, Hodson.

Goals: Waghorn 32 pen, Garner 47, 87, 90, Toral 76, Hill 81.

Cautions: Garner.  

Accies: Matthews, Skondras, Devlin (c), Gillespie, Imrie, Crawford, Kurtaj (Docherty 66), Bingham, Adams (McMann 61), McMann, Sarris (Watson 39). Subs Unused: Woods, Gogic, Brophy, Cunningham 

Referee: John Beaton Assistants: Alastair Mather and Andy Milne. 4th official: Don Robertson

Att: 27,287

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