East Fife 0-3 Rangers: Jermain Defoe and Joe Aribo on target in Scottish League Cup win
Aberdeen also advance after extra-time goal took them past Dundee
Last Updated: 18/08/19 9:22pm
Rangers cruised into the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup with a 3-0 triumph over East Fife.
The Scottish Premiership side, who will face Livingston in the next round, did not have it all their own way in the first half against the part-timers but broke the deadlock in the 17th minute with an exquisite goal from Jermain Defoe.
Ross Dunlop inadvertently turned the ball in his own net in the 57th minute to double Rangers’ lead before Joe Aribo completed the scoring six minutes from time.
Glen Kamara was the only survivor from the 3-1 victory over Danish side Midtjylland in the Europa League qualifiers three days earlier and despite the scale of the alterations, Rangers wasted little time getting into their stride.
There were strong appeals for a penalty inside five minutes when Jordan Jones fell to the ground in the box as he raced clear of Stewart Murdoch but referee Don Robertson was not interested.
After a bright start, however, Rangers went through a period of being careless in possession that gave the Scottish League One side confidence and Darren Young’s side created a great chance after 17 minutes.
Liam Watt dug out a cross from the left that was missed by Rangers defender Andy Halliday as he challenged with striker Anton Dowds.
Aaron Dunsmore picked up the loose ball at the back post but goalkeeper Wes Foderingham spread himself well to make the block.
Six minutes later, Defoe’s sublime first touch took him away from Dunlop and Chris Higgins, having had his back to goal outside the box when he received debutant Filip Helander’s pass, and the former England striker coolly placed a low shot past Hart from close range.
Rangers began the second half with designs of creating a two-goal cushion but Hart kept out Aribo’s attempt at the near post after the midfielder connected with Jones’ corner. Defoe continued to pose problems inside the box but could only find the side-netting after wriggling free.
The second goal did arrive in the 57th minute courtesy of an own goal from East Fife defender Dunlop. Jones nodded Greg Stewart’s free-kick back across goal and Helander’s glancing header struck Dunlop before landing in the net.
Aribo grabbed the third and final goal six minutes from time, poking home a lose ball in the box after goalkeeper Hart flapped at Barker’s corner.
Gerrard: Aribo has big future
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard believes Aribo has "the world at his feet" after lavishing praise on the midfielder for his performance on Sunday.
He said: "Everyone will go away talking about Joe Aribo and rightly so. I am not sure how many good players have been at this stadium, but I don't think you will see many better than Joe.
"He was outstanding from start to finish. He looked superb all day. He has four goals in eight games, but it isn't just about that, it is about your all-round performances.
"Top players turn up anywhere, it doesn't matter if it is in front of 50,000, or 1500, your standards are always the same and from day one Joe has done that.
"He can go as far as he wants. I hope he stays alongside me for many years, but he's got the world at his feet."
Aberdeen need extra time to beat Dundee
Sam Cosgrove clinched Aberdeen's place in the quarter-final of the Scottish League Cup thanks to his extra-time winner against Dundee at Dens Park.
Aberdeen were within minutes of exiting and suffering a fourth straight defeat until Andrew Considine's stoppage-time equaliser cancelled out Danny Johnson's 43rd-minute penalty.
The Dons, who won this competition in 2014, found themselves outplayed by James McPake's Scottish Championship hopefuls for long spells of this last-16 encounter, before Cosgrove's 113th minute header saw them advance to play Hearts in the quarter-finals.
McInnes: We dug deep
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was thrilled to see his players stop their losing streak after a difficult Europa League exit in midweek.
He said: "I need to applaud Dundee. I watched them last Saturday and not only did we have to deal with a team motivated, playing with confidence and who had prepared all week, they were certainly ready for it.
"We turned up for the game and made the players aware of how difficult it would be, especially after playing with 10 men for so long on Thursday [in their Europa League loss to Rijeka].
"We were not brilliant. It was all about digging deep and getting the result... Dundee gave us a right game and made it difficult for us. Cup games are all about finding a way to win and my players deserve so much praise for that."