Rangers set up an Old Firm derby with Celtic in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup after they easily dispatched Cove Rangers at Ibrox.
The two Glasgow rivals will go head-to-head at Ibrox on 17 or 18 April.
Kemar Roofe’s double was sandwiched by Jermain Defoe and Nathan Patterson goals as the hosts opened a 4-0 half-time lead after a tight first quarter.
Despite more dominance in the second half, Rangers were unable to add to their already handsome advantage.
There was further bad news for Paul Hartley’s League 1 side, with midfielder Jamie Masson stretchered off.
Within the opening 10 minutes, Rangers passed up three glorious chances to take an early lead.
Scott Wright – making his first start – had a shot deflected wide; Roofe connected with a cross and side-footed past the same post; and Defoe couldn’t connect properly with a driven ball from Wright.
Roofe went close again when he cracked a shot off a post which landed into the arms of the goalkeeper.
But Cove’s resistance was broken when Defoe was given too much space outside the box to pick his spot, and he rifled the ball past Stuart McKenzie.
Rangers had their second when Cove’s defence inexplicably were caught in possession, and Roofe finished after Scott Arfield’s shot was parried.
And there was no way back for the visitors when Roofe rocketed Wright’s pass into the net from close range before Patterson stole the ball from Ross Graham to knock in a fourth before half-time.
Play stopped for several minutes to attend to the stricken Masson after the Cove midfielder attempted a challenge inside his own box, with the 27-year-old eventually having to be replaced.
Rangers continued to be on top but without threatening the goalkeeper as they took their foot off the gas a little with their place in the next round secured.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “We’d have liked a few more goals, but the boys tried their best. In the main, a very professional job and into the next round we go.
“We want to try and stay unbeaten and there’s still a lot to play for. The cup is a priority for us now. It’s the responsibility that comes with representing this club. The league was fantastic, but we want that to be the start and a catalyst for more.”
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley: “These are probably the best players they will ever play against. You hope to come here and try to put on a decent performance and just do the basics well.
“We did not follow the runners and close the ball down, but we did it better in the second half. After the first half, I am probably happy to come away with a 4-0 defeat.”
- 3BasseyBooked at 34mins
- 10DavisBooked at 36minsSubstituted forHagiat 45′minutes
- 9DefoeSubstituted forStewartat 73′minutes
- 25RoofeSubstituted forIttenat 63′minutes
- 7WatsonSubstituted forMcIntoshat 65′minutes
- 10MassonSubstituted forHanrattyat 67′minutes
- 9MegginsonSubstituted forMcAllisterat 45′minutes
- Kevin Clancy
Match ends, Rangers 4, Cove Rangers 0.
Second Half ends, Rangers 4, Cove Rangers 0.
Filip Helander (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Rory McAllister (Cove Rangers).
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Adam Livingstone.
Greg Stewart (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Livingstone (Cove Rangers).
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Leighton McIntosh.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ross Graham.
Attempt blocked. Cedric Itten (Rangers) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is blocked.
Foul by Connor Goldson (Rangers).
Kevin Hanratty (Cove Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Scott Wright (Rangers).
Connor Scully (Cove Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Greg Stewart (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Foul by Scott Arfield (Rangers).
Connor Smith (Cove Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Scott Arfield (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Fraser Fyvie (Cove Rangers).