Rangers cruise into final

Rangers 3 St Mirren 0

Rangers 3 St Mirren 0

Kris Boyd claimed his 100th goal for Rangers as he fired the holders into the final of the Homecoming Scottish Cup.

The striker picked the last-four clash with St Mirren at Hampden to rack up a century of goals for the club since his move from Kilmarnock to Ibrox in January 2006.

His milestone managed to overshadow the achievements of forgotten man Andrius Velicka, who netted his third goal in as many games after spending most of the season in cold storage, before Kenny Miller sealed the win.

The only sour point in what was an otherwise perfect day for Rangers was the sight of Pedro Mendes leaving the pitch on a stretcher late in the first half, with a question mark now hanging over his involvement in the run-in.

Rangers have had their fair share of injury worries of late and were again without Barry Ferguson, whose hopes of a comeback this season were shattered when he suffered a calf tear in a reserves game midweek.

However, Allan McGregor returned to the scene of the crime when he was named as a substitute for the first time since his antics – along with Ferguson – the last time he was on the bench at Hampden for Scotland.

Saints were boosted by the news that Billy Mehmet had passed a late fitness test but were without fellow striker Craig Dargo, who apparently suffered an injury in training midweek.

Rangers had been out of the traps quickly with early goals in their last two league outings and St Mirren were also caught cold when Velicka opened the scoring with less than two minutes on the clock.

Steven Davis embarked on a mazy run before teeing up the shot for Boyd. His effort cannoned off Will Haining but broke kindly for Velicka to stab high into the net from six yards.

The holders attempted to increase their advantage when Mendes drew a decent save from Mark Howard with a swerving drive from the edge of the area, which the Buddies goalkeeper did well to parry past his post.

Then it was the turn of Neil Alexander to be called into action when Steven Thomson tried his luck with a ferocious shot from distance that the Rangers goalkeeper just managed to tip over the crossbar.

Boyd threw himself in front of a Christian Dailly cross from the right only to direct his header too high and too wide.

Rangers were dealt a major blow shortly before half-time when Mendes left the field on a stretcher with what appeared to be a knee injury following a challenge from Haining. He was replaced by Nacho Novo.

Velicka could have lifted the mood again before the whistle when he raced onto a lovely ball from Davis but blasted wide under pressure from Mo Camara.

Andy Dorman – reportedly a summer target of both Rangers and Celtic – went to ground under pressure from Steven Whittaker shortly after the restart but the full-back appeared to take the ball rather than the man despite claims for a penalty from the Saints fans.

Velicka was withdrawn after an hour knowing he had already made a major contribution to the cause and was replaced by Miller.

Hopes of a Saints comeback looked unlikely when century-chasing Boyd added his name to the scoresheet after 66 minutes. Davis was the provider with a slick ball through the middle which the striker ran onto before calmly dispatching a left-foot shot past Howard.

There was no way back for the Paisley club when Miller put the tie beyond reach just four minutes later. Once again, Davis was the architect when he nodded back to Miller to drive low into the bottom corner.

Rangers were then able to hand Andrew Little his senior debut for the club knowing by then that they would be back at Hampden on May 30 to face Falkirk or Dunfermline.

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