Boyd steers Rangers into cup semis

Rangers 2 Hamilton 0

Kris Boyd continued his goalscoring exploits against Hamilton when he fired Rangers into the last four of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

The striker scored twice against Accies in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at the weekend and was on target again tonight at Ibrox before Kyle Lafferty sealed the win.

It proved to be a far more convincing victory for Rangers than Walter Smith’s side achieved in their meeting with Partick in the previous round, when the holders required extra-time to beat the Irn-Bru First Division side.

Smith made three changes from Saturday’s clash at New Douglas Park, with the injured Kevin Thomson, DaMarcus Beasley and Kenny Miller replaced by Maurice Edu, Jean-Claude Darcheville and Lafferty.

Captain Barry Ferguson – out for five months with an ankle injury – was named on the bench but will have to wait until Saturday’s SPL game against Inverness before making his return after Smith decided against using him.

Hamilton made two enforced changes following their 3-1 defeat at weekend. With Martin Canning cup-tied and Simon Mensing suspended, David Elebert and David Graham were drafted in.

The match was preceded by a minute of applause in memory of former Rangers player Ian McColl, who passed away at the weekend. Once under way, the home side had the best of the opening spell.

Boyd had an early opportunity to put Hamilton under pressure with a free-kick just outside the box. His long, low shot was well-struck but took a slight deflection and fizzed wide.

Sasa Papac then collected a short corner from Lafferty and delivered the ball to Boyd 10 yards from goal but his flicked header was comfortably held by goalkeeper Tomas Cerny.

Papac was the provider again with another decent ball into the box which was nodded on to Darcheville by Steven Davis only for the Frenchman to send his own header just over the crossbar.

Rangers’ hard work paid off when they opened the scoring after 25 minutes, with the identity of the goalscorer no real surprise.

Darcheville’s cut-back found Papac whose shot was blocked before the ball fell to Boyd. He saw his initial effort cleared off the line by Brian Easton, before stabbing home from close range at the second attempt.

Darcheville then tried his luck with an audacious strike from 30 yards but Cerny was untroubled in the Hamilton goal, as Rangers were forced to settle for a narrow lead heading into the interval.

Rangers were keen to add to their lead and piled on the pressure after the restart, with Boyd firing over after taking a pass from Darcheville.

It was Lafferty who doubled the advantage instead when he met a superb ball from Davis and left Cerny with no chance with a looping header from just outside the six-yard box with 50 minutes gone.

With Rangers firmly in control, Kirk Broadfoot ventured forward and skipped past two defenders before seeing his drive blocked by Cerny.

With just under 20 minutes to go, the small band of Hamilton fans screamed for a penalty when Richard Offiong went to ground under pressure from Madjid Bougherra but their protests were ignored by referee Eddie Smith.

Rangers knew a third goal would kill off any hope of a Hamilton comeback and Nacho Novo came close within seconds of coming off the bench, before Lafferty squandered the chance to add to his tally.

Hamilton had barely carved out a shot on goal all night and goalkeeper Allan McGregor’s only real task on the night was punching to safety Stephen Ettien’s free-kick in the final minute as Rangers eased into the last four.

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