Rangers 6 Inverness Caley Thistle 2
Billy Kirkwood fielded the same side that started against Hibs in the recent league game. The Inverness side included Andrew Shinnie’s brother Graeme and former Rangers player Shaun Porter was on the bench.
The Ibrox youngsters got of to the perfect start when they took the lead in the 4th minute, Kal Naismith fed Jamie Ness at the left hand angle of the box and he shot across keeper Allison into the corner of the net. Rangers continued to press and Naismith released Archie Campbell on the left, he made his way into the box and laid the ball back into the path of Stephen Stirling who shot wide.
On 26 minutes keeper Kyle Allison then had to look smart to cut out a low Jamie Ness cross after he got to the byline from a Stirling pass. The second goal was only delayed a minute however, Danny Wilson rising to powerfully head a Naismith corner past Allison. Inverness were dealt a further blow a minute later when keeper Kyle Allison was stretchered off, Archie Campell’s pass sent Kane Hemmings clear and he collided with the keeper although was marginally offside. Unfortunately the keeper was carried from the field and replaced by Keiran Wilson.
Ten minutes later Gregg Wylde went on a run that took him past three defenders only to be brought down 25 yards from goal, Stephen Stirling had an effort from the free kick that keeper Wilson managed to scramble round the post. The next chance for the home side came on 42 minutes, Darren Cole and Kyle Hutton combined on the right and from the latter’s low Archie Campbell shot wide. Rangers were looking to kill the tie, and when Inverness failed to clear a ball from the left, keeper Wilson denied his namesake Danny at the expense of a corner.
From the set play the tie was effectively over, another corner from Naismith was met at the near post by Kyle Hutton and his flicked header found the net. Then in first half injury time Rangers added a fourth, Stephen Stirling picked up a clearance at the edge of the box and his shot evaded keeper Wilson to finish the tie as a contest.
Half Time:- Rangers 4 Inverness Caley Thistle 0
Kyle Hutton scored his second and Rangers fifth on 57 minutes, neat inter passing down the left between Naismith and Campbell set up an easy chance for the Rangers midfielder to net from close range. Substitute Isa Bagci almost added another two minutes later, he won the physical battle to collect Vaiculis’s clearance but shot wide.
With 25 minutes remaining the visitors started to threaten the Rangers goal, Nicky Ross picked up a Shane Sutherland flick on and his effort was blocked by the leg of Arturs Vailculis. Then Sutherland’s cross from the left was deflected high to the back post where Stuart Leslie headed straight at Vailculis. Rangers were still looking to add to their tally and Kane Hemmings sent Archie Campbell away, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
The goal of the game came on 73 mins, Isa Bagci picked the ball up 40 yards from goal on the right hand touchline, his run inside took him past two defenders and his left foot shot from 25 yards gave keeper Wilson no chance. The youngsters from Inverness didn’t let their heads go down and were very unfortunate not to pull a goal back two minutes later. A quick free kick set Leslie free on the right, his cutback found Ross near the penalty spot but his effort came crashing back off the crossbar.
Having used their substitutes Rangers played the final 10 minutes with 10 ment when Kal Naismith picked up a knock and had to go off. In closing stages the vistors managed to pull a couple of goals back and give then something to show for their efforts. On 83 minutes Stuart Leslie worked an opening at the edge of the box and shot passed Vailculis. With three minutes remaining Nicky Ross went by Darren Cole and as he made his way into the box he was fouled by Ross Perry, Gavin Morrison stepped up to convert from the spot and complete the scoring.
Full Time :- Rangers 6 Inverness Caley Thistle 2
Rangers :- Arturs Vailculis; Darren Cole, Ross Perry, Danny Wilson, Gregg Wylde (Steven Forbes 50 mins); Kyle Hutton (Isa Bagci 58mins), Stephen Stirling, Jamie Ness (Gordon Dick 46 mins), Kal Naismith; Archie Campbell, Kane Hemmings.
Not Used:- Grant Adam, Scott Durie.
Inverness CT:- Kyle Allison (Keiran Wilson 28 mins); Struan Scott-Woodhouse, Danny Welsh, Michael Finnis, Graeme Shinnie; Stuart Leslie, Connor Rennie (Kevin Fraser 46mins), Gavin Morrison, Matthew Hemsley (Shaun Carrol 74mins), Nicky Ross; Shane Sutherland.
Not Used:- Shaun Porter, David Chambers.
In the other Semi Final, Hibs beat Falkirk 3-0 at the new Falkirk Stadium on Sunday 29th March.