It was an emphatic victory for Rangers after they defeated Championship side Dunfermline 6-0 at Ibrox to advance to the Quarter-Final of the BetFred Cup.
Pedro Caixinha had initially made four changes from Sunday’s victory over Motherwell with starts for Jak Alnwick and Jordan Rossiter while James Tavernier returned from injury and Colombian forward Alfredo Morelos got his opportunity to shine from the outset. However, a setback occurred in the pre-match warm-up with captain Lee Wallace pulling up, meaning Lee Hodson was re-instated to the side.
With captain Callum Morris returning for Allan Johnston’s men – and natural strikers Declan McManus and David Hopkirk starting up front – the Pars fans turned out in force as they hoped for a cup scalp.
After good play by Morelos down the right, his cut-back saw a shot fired in towards the visitors goal which Murdoch done well to palm away but Kenny Miller picked up the loose ball before firing high into the net to give the Gers an early lead.
After Morelos was fouled by Morris on the edge of the area, it was Bruno Alves who lined up the shot; a curling right-footed effort was too good for Murddoch, who was beaten at his near post.
The Fifers’ defence did get a little respite soon after with Declan McManus first firing an effort wide of Alnwick’s goal before he himself tried the spectacular with a free-kick chance of his own.
The former Aberdeen youngster hit a venomous shot which crashed back off the crossbar. Daniel Candeias caught Dunfermline on the counter-attack. The winger sprinted forward before laying the ball back for Morelos who fired his first of the evening beyond the despairing Murdoch to kill off any chances of a come-back.
James Tavernier worked his way into the box before finding the net with only 27 minutes on the clock, forcing Dunfermline into an early tactical change with M’Voto replacing Hopkirk.
Alves tried his luck again from distance and the shot deflected into the path of Kenny Miller, who could only find the side netting.
Alves was replaced by Danny Wilson so it was left to Daniel Candeias to replicate his countryman’s earlier free-kick by scoring the fifth goal of the evening just twelve minutes into the second period.
Dunfermline almost got an extraordinary consolation when Callum Morris fired the ball forward, but, the ball was on target and Alnwick had to look lively to gather the ball on his goal-line. Shortly afterwards, Declan McManus fired wide as the Championship side began to create openings.
It wasn’t long before the were undone again, however, when Morelos grabbed his second of the game: Tavernier had a fierce shot saved by Murdoch but the follow-up was tapped home by the Colombian.
Murdoch denied Morelos his hat-trick late on as Rangers progress to the Quarter-Final’s of the BetFred Cup, where they will face Partick Thistle at Firhill.
Speaking after the match, Pedro Caixinha told the press: “I am really pleased with the work the boys did; the quality and the commitment, the pace and the rhythm as well as the leadership. We were much more efficient on the scoring chances that we created.”
Whilst, Pars manager Allan Johnston was less than pleased with his side’s performance at Ibrox: “We lost early goals – you can see the quality they have once they get a bit of confidence and start playing. We made it a really long night for ourselves. I think when the third goal goes in, then a fourth really quickly after that [it becomes damage limitation].”