Captain Andy Halliday steers Rangers through to cup semi-final
Rangers put the ongoing Joey Barton saga to one side as they cantered into the Betfred Cup semi-finals with a 5-0 win over Queen of the South.
Goals from Jason Holt and skipper for the night Andy Halliday put them in control before Martyn Waghorn added a second-half hat-trick.
The display - which books Rangers' place in Wednesday's last-four draw - was welcome respite for boss Mark Warburton following a week and more of scrutiny in the wake of the 5-1 Old Firm mauling by Celtic, and the subsequent bust-up with Barton which has now seen the midfielder suspended for three weeks.
The win was Rangers' first in four games and ensured the Light Blues, who handed midfielder Matt Crooks his debut off the bench, have now gone a calendar year without suffering defeat at home.
Barton was again nowhere to be seen at Ibrox but Halliday - the man he first clashed with to set off the explosive chain of events threatening the one-cap England midfielder's Ibrox future - led out the side
Regular skipper Lee Wallace was given the night off.
There was a late blow for Warburton when Josh Windass pulled up during the warm-up with a recurrence of his hamstring problems, meaning Niko Kranjcar was promoted to the starting line-up.
There were spells during the opening exchanges where Rangers enjoyed 80 per cent of the possession but penetrating the Doonhamers was another matter.
The only effort Rangers mustered in the first 20 minutes was a deflected Harry Forrester strike and it looked like a testing week had left the hosts weary.
A goal was needed to perk up Warburton's team and he was relieved to see it arrive 12 minutes before the break.
Kranjcar still looks well short of full sharpness but the Croatian's eye for a pass has not diminished
He picked out Michael O'Halloran on the right and the winger wriggled free to tee up Holt to tuck home from close range.
With the shackles removed, Rangers began to play.
Clint Hill and Lee Hodson came close while Waghorn even tried an ambitious 40-yard lob but Queens keeper Lee Robinson was not fooled.
Holt failed to re-appear for the second half as Barrie McKay was introduced.
There were warning signs for Rangers as Queens started pressing with more aggression, only for both Derek Lyle and Stephen Dobbie to wasted golden chances to fire their team level.
And they were costly misses as Halliday stroked home the second goal after 62 minutes.
The midfielder drove forward from midfield before feeding McKay on the left
He continued his run into the box and finished off with style as the winger returned his pass.
And the game was taken away from the visitors 60 seconds later as Waghorn swept a pinpoint finish into the bottom corner from 18 yards after another McKay cut-back.
Another sublime Kranjcar pass to O'Halloran opened the door again in the 71st minute, with Waghorn arriving at just the right time to tuck home his seventh goal of the season.
Former QPR playmaker Kranjcar then laid off for Waghorn to smash home his third with seven minutes left.
Source : PA