Betfred Cup Quarter-Final



By Stewart McConnell

Pictures: Alan Graham

MORE than 900 fans packed out Ibrox Stadium's Broomloan Road end to roar on Ayr United in this hotly anticipated quarter-final.

And although they lost out to a dominant home side, the visitors wer by no means disgraced.

They defended well at times and had Robbie Crawford taken an early chance they would have at least been on the scoresheet.

Star striker Lawrence Shankland barely featured as he was marked out of the game by three defenders.

But it was a bumper pay for the Honest Men with a gate of more than 35,000 and and it was go into this match as Championship leaders.

Lawrence Shankland kicked off for Ayr, who were kicking towards the Copeland Road end.

Rangers broke down the left and forced two corners and from the second, Michael Rose made a timely headed clearance.

A minute later Oviemuno Ejaria burst into the box but the danger was cleared.

United forged a great chance in nine minutes when a Robbie Crawford rocket from the edge of the box was deflected over the bar by a Rangers defender.

Then Ayr threatened again in 11 minutes as Wes Foderingham raced out to beat Andy Murdoch at the edge of the box,

Gers came so close in 15 minutes when Glenn Middleton made a blazing run down the left and shot across the face of goal. However seconds later Rangers scored when Nikola Katic slotted home from inside the box.

In 17 minutes Ayr had claims for a penalty turned down when Alan Forrest looked to be impeded inside the box by Jonathon Flanagan.

The hosts came close again in 23 minutes when the dangerous Middleton shot just high and wide from 25 yards.

A Ryan Kent shot from the edge of the box was cleared by the United defence in 27 minutes.

Rangers doubled their lead on the half hour when Middleton sent home a blistering effort from 12 yards.

Shankland wasn’t really having a look in as he was being marked out of the game by Joe Worrall.

It was game over in 48:minutes as Alfredo Morelos shot home from eight yards.

The hosts went close again in 51 minutes when Ejaria shot narrowly over the bar from just outside the box.

Ross Doohan made a fine save to foil Eros Gredza from 20 yards in 54 minutes.

There was a half chance for Ayr in 61 minutes when a shot from distance by Danny Harvie was well handled by Foderingham.

The hosts came close again in 66 minutes when Gredza set up Ryan Kent but Doohan raced out and bravely saved at his feet.

By this stage it was a damage limitation job as Ayr knew there was no way back.

Then a fourth followed in 69 minutes when Middleton outstripped Michael Rose and thundered home an effort from 22 yards.

Danny Harvie whipped over a good cross to Forrest in 77 minutes but he shot wildly past a post from 16 yards. Middleton hit the side netting from eight yards in 79 minutes as the home side easily saw the game out.

RANGERS: Foderingham; Worrall, Dorrans (R McCrorie 86) Ejaria, Kent, Flanagan, Halliday, Ross McCrorie (Kelly 68) Katic, Morelos (Grezda 60) Middleton. Subs not used: Wallace, Goldson, Rossiter, Arfield.

AYR UNITED: Doohan; Harvie, Kerr, Rose, Geggan (Moffat 7, 59) Crawford, Forrest, Adams, Shankland (Moore 75) Murdoch (McDaid 64) Smith. Subs not used: Hare-Reed, Ferguson, Bell, Docherty.