Annan Athletic 0-3 Rangers: Big talking points as it rains goals for Gers in Scottish Cup win at soggy Galabank

Rangers booked their place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Annan Athletic in wild conditions at Galabank.

The Light Blues battled the elements to get the better of their lower league opponents thanks to first-half strikes from returning Filip Helander and hitmen Kemar Roofe and Fashion Sakala.

Helander got his return game with a dream start at seven minutes as he nodded after the corner kick after being denied a carbon copy chance moments earlier by Greg Fleming.

Barisic tested Fleming with a 25-yard free-kick a few minutes later, but Annan’s No.1 was up to the task.

Aaron Ramsey – making his first Gers start in the rain from Annan – showed class in the 11th minute by delivering a fine pass over the home defense for Roofe.

But the Light Blues hitman’s header was comfortable for Fleming as he fired wide shortly after.

Roofe waved the back of the net soon after as he came late with a fluid move to curve past the experienced keeper for 2-0.

In the 23rd minute, Sakala was denied by the crossbar as the Govan Giants began to purr into a rain-soaked Dumfries and Galloway.

The Zambian, however, scored his goal just after the half hour mark as he headed home from an impossible angle in an attempt to get the ball into the box.

Rain fell on Galabank

The elements may have played a role in Gers’ third, but they weren’t to care as it was raining goals down at Galabank.

Ramsey was denied his first Rangers goal at half-time as he was ruled offside after turning debutant right-back Mateusz Zukowski’s cross with a cheeky back heel.

The second half saw the hosts start brilliantly as boss Peter Murphy appeared to have given his troops a boost in the interval.

Iain Anderson was sharp for the Galabankies in the final third as they tried to give their supporters something to cheer for.

Owen Moxon shot wide from 25 yards in 54 minutes as the 24-year-old impressed in the middle of the park on the night.

They continued to press but were unable to test Jon McLaughlin between the sticks for Gers as Cameron Clark shot wide on the hour mark.

Amad Diallo cut the bar in the 67th minute in his first notable move of the game as the Manchester United loanee got a taste of new surroundings.

Roofe nodded three minutes later as he completed a delivery from Zukowski as Giovanni van Bronckhorst offered 19-year-old midfielder Charlie McCann his debut soon after.

The Light Blues kept pushing for a fourth but found the stern Annan hard to break in the final 15 minutes as Fleming denied McCann late.

It remained 3-0 as Gers progressed to the last eight, but Annan can hold his head high with the way he competed against the Glasgow giants.

Helander returns a huge whipping

Filip Helander put Rangers ahead
Filip Helander put Rangers ahead

After five long months of absence, the Swedish central defender Helander experienced a dream return to the bosom of Rangers.

Playing his first minutes since limping off at St Johnstone in September with a knee injury, the 28-year-old enjoyed a calm but productive night at Galabank.

A goal, a clean sheet and no complications with his injury – a positive evening for the great defender in his time on the pitch.

His return is a huge boost for the Gers, if you will.

Encouraging first starts for Ramsey and Zukowski

Aaron Ramsey got 61 minutes at Galabank
Aaron Ramsey got 61 minutes at Galabank

Although not against the best opposition, January signings Aaron Ramsey and Mateusz Zukowski had encouraging early starts for Gers.

The two emerged from the clash unscathed despite worries over the plastic pitch, particularly in the case of Ramsey, as the Juventus loanee showed his class at times against the League Two side before checking to the 61st minute.

Polish right-back Zukowski bombarded up and down the flank energetically, although his final ball sometimes missed.

With more game time that will surely come as both men have had precious minutes in their legs.

Annan gets justice

Annan performed well against their illustrious opposition
Annan performed well against their illustrious opposition

Despite the scoreline, Annan can be proud of the way he equipped against the Premiership champions – particularly in the second half.

While the chasm in class was clear, the way they set themselves up – organized and sometimes playing neat stuff – belied their League Two status.

Galabankies boss Peter Murphy will be happy his side did themselves justice on the big stage in front of a packed stadium.

A brilliant opportunity to remember for the Blacks and Ors.

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