HAT-TRICK hero Dean Shiels and David Templeton turned on the style as rampant Rangers hammered Dunfermline at Ibrox to progress to the quarter-final stage of the Scottish Cup.
The Pars currently sit second behind the Light Blues in League One, 23 points adrift, but the gulf in class was even greater than that tonight as Ally McCoist’s men made it through to the last eight for the first time in four years.
At half time a double from Shiels and a magnificent solo effort from Templeton stunned the visitors before man-of-the match Deano completed his memorable treble a minute after the restart to make it 4-0.
That also completed the scoring but, in truth, Rangers totally dominated the match from start to finish and every player in blue deserves praise. Shiels, in particular though, was superb and in the opening 30 minutes the visitor’s didn’t know how to deal with him.
With just over 60 seconds on the clock a quick throw-in from Lee Wallace found the Ulsterman who had cut inside. With his back to goal and on the edge of the box he turned swiftly and unleashed a shot which had plenty of power but was straight at Pars keeper Ryan Scully.
On seven minutes the opening goal arrived and while it would have pleased Ally McCoist it was a poor one for Jim Jefferies' team to concede. Black’s intelligent cross field pass found Templeton in acres of space on the left wing and he immediately put pressure on right back Ross Millen.
As he got to the 18-yard box Temps attempted a cute back heel and when Ryan Williamson failed to clear Shiels turned away from the 17-year-old with the ball before slotting it coolly into the opposite bottom corner of the net.
It was the perfect start for the Gers and with just nine minutes on the clock Shiels latched on to a through ball but ended up on the deck after he was clattered going in for a 50/50 challenge with Scully in the box. It looked reckless from the keeper but referee Bobby Madden quickly decided it wasn’t a penalty.
Rangers looked dangerous every time they pushed up the park and on 19 minutes a low drive from Templeton from 25 yards was nervously saved by Dunfermline’s busy keeper before Shiels netted his sixth goal of the season to make it 2-0.
Fraser Aird floated in a terrific cross with the outside of his right boot and Daly’s glancing header was parried away by Scully. The ball, however, went straight to Shiels who reacted quickest to blast it into the empty net from eight yards before celebrating with bears in the Broomloan Stand.
Before the half hour mark a near post shot from Ryan Wallace tested Cammy Bell for the first time in the game before Shiels was denied his hat-trick when Scully saved his left foot effort.
The Dunfermline players were struggling to cope with the pace of Rangers’ attacks with Law, Aird and Templeton all driving forward with intent and on 36 minutes it was the latter that hit his side’s third goal with a sublime display of skill.
The winger skipped past a defender 40 yards out and again found himself one-on-one with full back Millen. After a couple of stepovers he shifted to his left before firing a low shot across Scully and into the net.
The Ibrox faithful were in dreamland and before the half-time whistle their side could have extended their advantage further but Mohsni failed to hit the target with a back post header from Ian Black’s free kick.
Rangers didn’t need to worry about that though as Shiels completed his hat-trick immediately after the restart.
Templeton slipped a pass in behind the Dunfermline defence to the overlapping Wallace but Scully slid out to make the stop at the defender’s feet. Again the loose ball came out to Shiels who rolled it confidently into the net to the delight of the ecstatic home support.
With Rangers now in total control Templeton was able to show off all his skills and the only disappointment on the night was that they couldn't score a few more.
Mohsni again came close with a header, Scully made a couple of good saves from Templeton and Ian Black rattled the cross bar so it wasn't to be.
Nevertheless it was still a five-star display from the Gers and in particular Shiels who was given a standing ovation as he was replaced by his fellow countryman Andy Little with 15 minutes remaining.
The goalscorers will undoubtedly grab the headlines for their performances this evening and rightly so but it was a real team effort and, on this form, not many teams will fancy being paired with the Light Blues on Sunday when the draw for the next round is made.
RANGERS: Bell; Faure, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace; Aird (Peralta 71), Black, Law (Crawford 81), Templeton; Shiels (Little 75), Daly
SUBS NOT USED: Simonsen, Smith, Cribari, Foster.
GOALS: Shiels 7, 23, 47 Templeton 36
BOOKINGS: Mohsni, Templeton
DUNFERMLINE: Scully; Williamson, Whittle, Martin, Morris, Millen (Thomson 46), Byrne (El Bakhtaoui 46), Geggan, Wallace, Falkingham, Shankland (Moore 75).
SUBS NOT USED: Goodfellow, Young, Husband, Drummond
BOOKINGS: Wallace, Morris
REF: Bobby Madden
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