True to form, though, Rangers ran out comfortable 3-1 winners; goals from Andy Halliday, Lassana Coulibaly and Kyle Lafferty sealed the win, despite David Cox’s second-half strike for the hosts.
The first half was very professional
Three goals in the first half and Rangers went about the game in a proper manner. They made sure Cowdenbeath were never really in the game.
And the three goals were all really good finishes – the pick of them being Andy Halliday’s low strike from long range. That first 45 was the type of performance Steven Gerrard would have been looking for in the circumstances.
They made sure they played at a level, which meant the game was over by half-time. No individual stuck out in terms of performance, it was just a good job and it sealed the tie against Killie on the next round.
The attitude in the second half was deplorable
As I said before, the game was won by half-time. However, that cannot be used as an excuse for the second-half display. It’s difficult to find a word to describe it. After losing the goal early on, Rangers decided to make the game as hard as it possibly could be for themselves.
However, I’d like to highlight two performances from players who seem to be getting worse and worse each time they pull on a Rangers shirt.
Firstly, Jon Flanagan. I felt Flanagan did well in the early part of the season and during the European run. However, his good displays have gone MIA recently. He’s never going to be the marauding full-back like James Tavernier, but it’s got to the stage that he’s becoming less dependable as a back-up. I don’t know if it’s lack of game time but when he’s up against a side like Cowdenbeath, he shouldn’t look so poor.
Gareth McAuley started where he finished off at Kilmarnock: he always looks good in the air. But any time a Cowdenbeath player went to press him, it turned into panic stations. He’s 39 and he looked every single day of it. After those two performances, he’s cemented his role as the fourth choice central defender, in my opinion.
He’s retiring at the end of the season. Thank goodness. His performance last night was even worse than McAuley and Flanagan’s.
He never gave Rangers a penalty for the clearest of handballs in the first half. Then he decided a dive outside the box by the Cowdenbeath attacker was a penalty. And even worse than that, Steven Davis was surely about to score before he got taken out from behind in the box. Nothing was given.
For someone who has reffed cup finals and European matches in his career, this display was embarrassing at best and incompetent at worst. His retirement can’t come quick enough.