Scottish Cup v Rangers
RANGERS 3 DUNFERMLINE 0 Date: 09/04/03
Fixture: Tennent`s Scottish Cup
Attendance: 24752, Kick Off: 19:45
Referee: John Underhill, Weather: Dry 5ºC
Stevie Crawford and Andrius Skerla returned to the side for this Scottish Cup Replay but because of injury incurred against Motherwell on Saturday, Scott Wilson yet again misses out on a match against his old team. Barry Ferguson returned to the cup holders team having served his one match suspension for his red card in the first meeting.
First goalmouth action was at the Broomloan Stand end in the third minute when Craig Brewster`s prodding ball sent Hampshire into the Rangers box. Steven took the ball on his right foot before snapping a left footed shot from the angle of the six yard box that hit the left sidenetting.
Play switched to the other end but everything looked under control until Derek Stillie`s throw out to Skerla on the right flank was touched back by the Lithuanian defender with his right foot. It was just enough to tee it up for the dashing in LOVENKRANDS who raced in on goal and lashed the ball past Stillie to give Rangers a one nil lead after just three and a half minutes.
In the seventh minute a Ged Brannan back pass forced Stillie to rush out of his box to thwart de Boer but the ball broke to Ferguson who shot wide left instead of hitting the open goal. Skerla kept off de Boer as Mols pushed a ball into the Pars box and their weak calls for a spot kick.
Artur Numan manufactured Rangers second goal in the 19th minute beating off the challenge of Barry Nicholson to swing over a ball from the left that was met by a diving header by Barry FERGUSON seven yards out that gave Stillie no chance. The Gers captain found a space between Brannan and Hampshire to score his 18th goal of the season at the left post.
Rangers struck the ball about with the confidence that a two goal lead brings and the Pars were restricted to the odd touch and interception. Gary Mason brushed down Mols on the right side of the penalty box and were relieved when Referee Underhill decided to ignore it.
Next minute Peter Lovenkrands ball across the penalty area was not met by anyone, then almost immediately de Boer from outside the right side of the box almost caught Stillie out as his cross developed into a shot at the near post.
Lovenkrands 33rd minute ball to Arteta was blasted into the stand as Dunfermline chased about trying to win possession. The breakaway was all that the visitors could seek and just two minutes from the interval a Brewster ball to Nicholson brought a good save from Klos. The German keeper touched the shot from 15 yards out in the left side of his box, just around his left hand post.
Half Time 2-0
Dunfermline kicked off for the second half with Sean Kilgannon coming on for Gus MacPherson but within 30 seconds Rangers were back in possession and Ferguson managed a shot that was deflected behind off de Boer. The defence looked sparse and Mols got a shot in in the 49th minute that just scraped past the right post. Then Stillie saved to his left as de Boer got his chance to shoot.
Kilgannon won the Pars first corner on the left off Ricksen after a fine pass from Crawford. Nicholson`s cross was headed wide by Brannan with 52 minutes gone. Things got worse two minutes later when de Boer advanced up the right and pushed a ball through to Mikel ARTETA who chipped the ball over the advancing Stillie. Despite Skerla`s desperate lunge the ball went in at the right post to make it 3-0.
de Boer was well wide with a 59th minute header and there followed a minute or two of Pars pressure. No shots however and Rangers were soon back in control. Noel Hunt managed a wide smile as the Ibrox faithful booed his introduction in place of Brewster.
Chris McGroarty did well to cut out Lovenkrands cross for de Boer after Numan had sent the Dane down the left. Another chance did come the Fifers way in the 66th minute. Steven Hampshire collected the ball on the top of the D but his shot was just wide of the top right corner.
The sight of Claudio Caniggia coming on for de Boer might have meant more misery for the Pars (as usual). He should have scored with his first touch after Lovenkrands ball from the left went through McGroarty to him; then Stillie was out to save at the Argentinian`s feet.
Grondin`s ball into the near post in 79th minute forced Klos into a fisted clearance. Rangers were storming back three minutes later when Lovenkrands hit the sidenetting with Skerla preventing a free shot. Arveladze struck the crossbar with an 89th minute shot but the match was well won by then. After two added minutes of stoppage time the referee`s whistle was welcome relief.
In typical Jimmy Calderwood fashion the Pars pushed hard at the start of the second half but the third goal killed off any affects of the half time teamtalk. It was a bad night where they just didn`t get going.
No cup semi final then this season and an Easter weekend without a fixture beckons. It will be Rangers who face Motherwell at Hampden.
Next Match: Bank of Scotland SPL (away) v Aberdeen
Saturday 12th April 2003