Rangers kicked off the defence of the Irn Bru Cup with a thumping win over Stirling Uni at Forthbank. Goals from Ryan Hardie, Liam Burt and a Josh Jeffries brace were enough to see the Gers Colts into the second round against Stenhousemuir. An impressive crowd of just under 500 saw Rangers seal their place with four goals in a 22-minute spell in the first half.
Rangers took an early lead through Jeffries when he picked the ball up on the edge of the University penalty area and looped a delightful strike over the head of Tim Hughes in goal. Ten minutes later Ryan Hardie made it 2-0 when Jordan Thompson’s beautifully weighted pass sent him beyond the Stirling defence before he coolly slotted home.
Josh Jeffries grabbed a second when his left foot strike rattled off the underside of the bar before going in. The youngster had a fantastic opening 45 and was justly rewarded with a brace. Liam Burt added a fourth with a tap-in as Rangers closed the first half out comfortably.
The second half was a much tenser affair with Stirling Uni closing ranks and Rangers not being as clinical as they were in the first period. Josh Jeffries had an opportunity to seal his hat-trick after Andy Dallas was sandwiched in the box but the young forward ballooned his spot kick over the bar.
Rangers maintained their control over their Lowland League opponents and cruised through to the second round. Billy Kirkwood’s side have only just returned from a trip to South Africa and will look to build on their result against Stirling.
Despite Rangers not adding to their lead in the second half, the band of Gers fans who made the trip to Forthbank will have went home happy. A comfortable win for the young Gers and now Stenhousemuir await next week...
Rangers: Robby McCrorie, Lyon, Gray, Barjonas, Ross McCrorie, Bradley, Burt, Jeffries, Hardie, Thompson, Rudden.
Subs: Wright, Wilson, White, Gibson, Dallas, Ashmore, Kelly
Goals: Jeffries (6’,26’), Hardie (18’), Burt (28’)
Stirling University: Hughes, Cuff, Kellock, Ashe, Nixon, Leigh, Faulds, Gillen, Geddes, McAfferty, Bonar.
Subs: McEwan, Hunter, McAnespie, Touhy, Moyes, Fitzpatrick, Quinn