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Waghorn hat-trick puts Rangers in semi-final

Martyn Waghorn steers home the first goal of his hat-trick

Waghorn steered home the first goal of his hat-trick with a smart finish

Martyn Waghorn’s second-half hat-trick helped Rangers cruise past Championship leaders Queen of the South into the Scottish League Cup semi-finals.

The hosts, winless in their last three games, only had Jason Holt’s goal to show for a dominant first half.

But captain Andy Halliday clipped home the second and Waghorn shot home from the edge of the box for his first.

The striker then converted Michael O’Halloran’s cross before lashing home his eighth goal in seven games.

Midfield menace

Rangers manager Mark Warburton was making a point when he appointed Halliday captain for the night, when Danny Wilson would normally have deputised for the absent Lee Wallace.

It was the midfielder who was caught up in a training ground argument with Joey Barton, who has been suspended by the club for three weeks.

Halliday, the manager was saying, is important to the side in a way that Barton could not conceive.

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Andy Halliday, made captain for the night, scored Rangers’ second goal

He played at the base of the midfield, kept play moving, allowing the players in front of him to press higher up the park because of his mobility, and generally led with a quiet assurance, even before he struck Rangers’ second of the night with a composed finish from Barrie McKay’s cross.

It seemed no coincidence that Rangers were also more effective with Jason Holt back in the side, with his darting runs beyond the forwards restoring a vital aspect that had been missing from the team’s play this season.

Holt was alert and deft enough to finish off O’Halloran’s delivery from close range for the opener.

Decisions, decisions

Warburton made four changes to his starting line-up, and there are now issues for him to mull over as he prepares for Sunday’s Premiership trip to Pittodrie. Lee Hodson was solid at full-back, but will surely be replaced by Wallace – who was rested – but others impressed.

O’Halloran created the first and fourth goals, crossing from the right for Waghorn to add his second from 10 yards out. The striker’s first goal, eight minutes previously, was a crisp finish from inside the D.

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Michael O’Halloran added pace and thrust to Rangers’ attack and set up two goals

O’Halloran’s pace and direct running was a threat for Rangers, and his presence on the flank allowed Waghorn to play as the central striker.

He was rewarded with a hat-trick, the third coming after Niko Kranjcar bundled the ball to him inside the area and he lashed it high into the net.

Harry Forrester worked hard and was composed – apart from a lunging foul on Jordan Matthews that might have brought more than a yellow card.

Warburton has yet to settled on his strongest XI, but he will welcome selection becoming more difficult by individuals’ improving form.

Queens subdued for once

The visitors are the top scorers in the Championship and their strike force of Derek Lyle and Stephen Dobbie have 17 goals between them in all competitions this season. They were restricted, though, to half-chances and a growing sense of frustration.

Queens were forced to play on the counter, which did not entirely suit two strikers who don’t have the pace of old. The wide men – Grant Anderson and Dale Hilson – were working hard in defence, so support was scarce.

The visitors were more lively early in the second half, after Rangers dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes.

Both Lyle and Dobbie shot wide, and it was not to be their night.

Live Text

Match ends, Rangers 5, Queen of the South 0.

Second Half ends, Rangers 5, Queen of the South 0.

Attempt missed. Stephen Dobbie (Queen of the South) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

James Tavernier (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Dale Hilson (Queen of the South).

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jamie Hamill.

Attempt saved. Stephen Dobbie (Queen of the South) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Goal! Rangers 5, Queen of the South 0. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Niko Kranjcar.

Attempt saved. Kenny Miller (Rangers) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt missed. Dean Brotherston (Queen of the South) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jordan Marshall.

Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jake Pickard (Queen of the South).

Substitution, Rangers. Kenny Miller replaces Michael O’Halloran.

Hand ball by Lyndon Dykes (Queen of the South).

Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt missed. Niko Kranjcar (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Lyndon Dykes.

Substitution, Rangers. Matt Crooks replaces Harry Forrester.

Goal! Rangers 4, Queen of the South 0. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Michael O’Halloran.

Harry Forrester (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dale Hilson (Queen of the South).

Michael O’Halloran (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Marshall (Queen of the South).

Attempt saved. Stephen Dobbie (Queen of the South) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution, Queen of the South. Dean Brotherston replaces Derek Lyle.

Substitution, Queen of the South. Jake Pickard replaces Kyle Jacobs.

Attempt blocked. Harry Forrester (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Andy Halliday (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kyle Jacobs (Queen of the South).

Attempt missed. Stephen Dobbie (Queen of the South) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Goal! Rangers 3, Queen of the South 0. Martyn Waghorn (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Barrie McKay.

Goal! Rangers 2, Queen of the South 0. Andy Halliday (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Barrie McKay.

Foul by Martyn Waghorn (Rangers).

Andy Dowie (Queen of the South) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Harry Forrester (Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Harry Forrester (Rangers).

Jordan Marshall (Queen of the South) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Stephen Dobbie (Queen of the South) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37345979