REPORT: Peterhead’s Petrofac Training Cup dream ended by ruthless Rangers

10-04-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. GLASGOW. Hampden Park. April 10, 2016. Petrofac Training Cup Final. Rangers FC v Peterhead FC. Peterhead fans.
10-04-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. GLASGOW. Hampden Park. April 10, 2016. Petrofac Training Cup Final. Rangers FC v Peterhead FC. Peterhead fans.

Peterhead’s Petrofac Training Cup dream was laid to rest on Saturday as a professional performance by Rangers broke Blue Toon hearts at Hampden.

An own goal from Ally Gilchrist and James Tavernier’s screamer gave the Gers a 2-0 first half lead that they never looked like surrendering.

Andy Halliday added a third from the penalty spot with six minutes to go following a foul on Jason Holt with Miller adding the fourth soon after with a tap-in.

Jim McInally’s players can be proud of their efforts, both in getting to the Challenge Cup final as well as their performances on the day itself, but the Championship winners were simply too good for them.

McInally made six changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Forfar Athletic eight days previously - Scott Ross, Gilchrist, Rory McAllister, Kevin Dzierzawski, Jordon Brown and Simon Ferry came back into the team.

The best chance of the opening quarter hour fell to Harry Forrester, who curled an effort from the left side of the box that took a deflection for a corner.

The Gers were ahead on 17 minutes though, Gilchrist turning the ball into his own net after Miller cut the ball across goal from the left.

Smith then had to save low to his right after Miller met Halliday’s lovely cross from deep with a glancing header.

Barrie McKay almost gifted Rangers a second goal on 28 minutes, cutting back on his right and slicing the ball across goal but Miller just couldn’t connect to it.

Talisman McAllister led a very rare break forward for the Blue Toon, nodding the ball beyond Rob Kiernan but the defender recovered and Rangers were able to regain possession, mounting their own counter which was stopped by Smith’s quick thinking.

Tavernier then stung Smith’s palms with a 20 yard strike following a corner as Mark Warburton’s outfit continued to search for a second goal.

The flying full back made it 2-0 in simply stunning fashion five minutes before half-time, volleying into the top right corner of Smith’s goal after Miller flicked the ball up and into his path.

Peterhead were almost back in the contest a minute later - Holt clearing off the line after Ross met a corner with a superb header.

It should have been three on the hour mark when Forrester was played through the defence on the right side, but his cut-back was somehow headed wide from Halliday’s close range diving header.

Peterhead burst down the left flank immediately after and with the Gers unable to clear, the ball fell to McAllister whose snap shot struck the side netting.

Excellent defending from Gilchrist then denied Miller a certain goal, stealing the ball off the striker’s toe.

Sub Leighton McIntosh took the ball on a driving run through midfield but Wilson ran out and blocked his progress with a stiff but legal challenge.

Somehow the ball stayed out of the Peterhead goal in the 81st minute as Miller missed two sitters from close range, with Halliday then narrowly failing to add the third before Smith saved superbly from Tavernier at close range.

But the midfielder soon did add his side’s third from the penalty spot after skipper Steven Noble felled Holt inside the box on 84 minutes.

Miller then added the fourth from close range after Michael O’Halloran’s pass was rebounded by the defence.