Maker laid down! I think its fair to say that Rangers did this with our six-two win at Easter Road this afternoon didn’t we as Mark Warburton’s competitive bow as Rangers’ new manager got under way with this convincing Challenge Cup win against Alan Stubbs’ Hibernian.
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There were positive signs shown in his Ibrox bow against Burnley earlier in the week in a pre-season game but; whilst there’s still clearly room for improvement this wasn’t a bad start to life under Warburton was it, or the debutants!
Not bad entertainment for a pre-season game was it….sorry Hibees I couldn’t resist 😉
Ahead of the game the Scott Allan talk dominated, would he wouldn’t he be involved was the question? The answer was no, well not until the second half anyway with him starting on the bench. The next question will be, do we now need Allan!
Hibs started positively and when they went ahead through Sam Stanton’s effort you couldn’t help but feel ‘here we go again’ but it was still early days. In fairness Hibs continued to offer the greater threat overall and could, maybe should, have been out of sight before debutant James Tavernier scored from a freekick.
As that Rangers didn’t really look back….
Tavernier was again involved in the second goal, the former Wigan man finding Jason Holt who crossed into Martyn Waghorn who marked his own debut with a goal too, in typical goal-poacher’s fashion.
It couldn’t have been a better start to the second half when Waghorn again scored within minutes thanks to some help from Hibs ‘keeper Mark Oxley to see Rangers three-one up.
With a penalty awarded for a trip on Jason Cummings the hosts had a chance to get back into the game, Cummings himself stepped up to take this to pull in back to two-three from the penalty spot.
Hope of a comeback was short lived mind with a Gers return, special for Andy Halliday anyway, made all the more special with the returning winger finally able to make his debut for the club and this was marked with a goal as he curled home the fourth in off the bar.
Kenny Miller came off the bench, in place of Waghorn who would have fancied a hat-trick, with 15-minutes to play and grabbed himself a brace with a couple of poachers goals of his own, in-between Hibs had a David Gray header disallowed, as the Warburton era got underway with three of the seven debutants getting on the score sheet with a six-two rout at Easter Road!
Not a bad afternoon’s work was it.
Defensively we looked fragile at times but once we got into a rhythm we played some really nice flowing, often one-touch, football that looked as though it could see a goal come at any time – certainly chances created.
The Challenge Cup is by far our priority, with all due respect to this competition but it would be at the bottom of this list of priorities – I’d still like to win it if the impacts of this don’t cause any negative knock on effects! – with winning the Scottish Championship the main aim.
Beating Hibs, and in their own backyard, so convincingly certainly lays down a positive marker and should leave us confident enough, without being overly confident and certainly not arrogant, that we’ll see a good season ahead from the Gers! Still plenty of room for improvement though.