Let’s take all the positives away from our hard fought 1-6 win at Somerset Park on Sunday afternoon’s Scottish Cup tie. It was expected to be a competitive game against Ayr United and with only a little over half an hour to play the game was still tied at 1-1.
The league one side were making it extremely difficult for us and they have been doing very well this season and they usually score a few goals.
The Rangers boss had to go with his league goalkeeper Wes Foderingham with cup stopper Jak Alnwick unavailable for personal reasons.
Tavernier was again Murty’s first choice right back which I continue to refuse to accept is his best option for a much better and safer Rangers team.
Russell Martin and David Bates formed our central defensive pairing along with Declan John back fit again in the left back spot.
This meant that Sean Goss, Greg Docherty, Josh Windass and Jamie Murphy all lined up in our midfield, with Jason Cummings and Alfredo Morelos linking up as our attacking pairing in a small but positive adjustment.
If Murty needed to try to change things at any point during the 90 minutes, then he could look to his bench of top players like Daniel Candeias and Kenny Miller to try and change his attacking options later in the game.
As it happened Foderingham in the 10th minute of the game dithered in possession and allowed Alan Forrest to pinch the ball from his diabolical blunder to force the ball home – hang your head in shame – Wes! 1-0 down and in danger of being knocked out of the cup!
Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham at this point looked as if he was struggling and has had much better opening 20-minute spells in a light blues jersey as he continued to look jittery in the wintry conditions.
He soared through the Ayrshire air in an attempt to punch a cross clear of danger and badly fluffed his lines and his blushes were only saved when Declan McDaid could only sky an effort high over the bar as the keeper scuttled back to his line.
With Ayr United opening the scoring it was a fairly tense affair until Morelos, our Columbian buffalo finally managed to equalise with a goal in the 30th minute of the tie to alleviate some of the tension and nerves from our players, travelling supporters and management.
We now had a fascinating snow swept Scottish Cup tie on our hands, with the Honest Men having taken the lead in such bizarre circumstances after Alan Forrest pounced on Wes Foderingham’s howler and then Rangers finally getting back on equal terms after coming close on several occasions.
Rangers were then denied by the woodwork as Josh Windass rose inside the box to bullet a header from James Tavernier’s sumptuous cross but unluckily it cannoned back off the bar. Another great effort from Josh and so close to another superb goal from the on-form goal scoring midfield star.
Greg Docherty’s cross then teed up Alfredo Morelos right in front of goal inside the six-yard box… and Morelos scooped the easiest of chances over the bar when we were still 1-0 behind in the game.
Rangers scored a cracking equalising goal when Alfredo banished the blushes of his sitter of all sitters with 30 minutes on the clock when he scored a difficult and impressive equaliser. Sean Goss saw his fabulous rocket shot come back off the bar and the Colombian was on hand to steer a rising effort into the net. Thank you very much. It was certainly game on now!
Rangers had the ball in the net when Jamie Murphy stabbed the ball home after Jack Ruddy parried a Jason Cummings shot, but Murphy was flagged for offside.
Rangers at last took the lead when the excellent Sean Goss whipped a cross into the box and Jason Cummings hooked a brilliant finish beyond Jack Ruddy into the far corner of the net for his second goal in a Rangers jersey.
Rangers were rampant now and another attack down the left from the overlapping Declan John saw the Ayr keeper Ruddy stabbing a foot out to deflect his low centre for Josh Windass to steer his shot into the net to make it 1-3.
Rangers really rubbed salt into the Ayr wounds with a clever taken fourth goal as Alfredo Morelos started and finished an impressive move as they sliced through the Somerset Park defence and the Colombian tapped home at the back post from another Jamie Murphy cross.
It was another highly productive scoring day for Josh Windass as he scored Rangers’ fifth goal of the game when he rose unchallenged to head home with the Ayr defence all-at-sea. Surely the Rangers fans are taking to him now with 12 goals and laying on plenty for others (8 assists in the league now) this season?
It turned out to be six of the best for Rangers as Jamie Murphy sped away from a tiring Ayr defence before he steered a brilliant low finish past Jack Ruddy and into the net for his first goal for the club. It was a fitting reward for all the tireless work he displayed in a very productive performance in a Rangers jersey.