Rangers 2-0 Ayr United: Top-flight side into quarter-finals

Rangers secured safe passage into the Scottish Cup quarter-finals with Borna Barisic's early opener and Fabio Silva's late strike decisive in a gripping contest at Ibrox.

Recent signing Oscar Cortes, making his first start, set the tone early on with a low curling effort that clipped the edge of the far post.

The hosts' intensity was relentless at that stage and Cortes broke down the left, regained possession, and fed Barisic who didn't hesitate as he slammed home via a deflection.

It looked ominous for former Celtic captain Scott Brown's Ayr, but they gradually began to cause problems with Anton Dowds threatening on a number of occasions as the visitors countered well. Some Premiership teams might take note of the second-tier side's approach.

They increasingly established themselves but had goalkeeper Robbie Mutch to thank for an outstanding save just before half-time when Barisic's fierce shot deflected off George Stanger.

That was the platform for a superb start to the second half and Ayr mustered an excellent opening from a corner. Ben Dempsey found incredible space on the edge of the box but his volley flashed wide.

At that stage, to add to the drama, everyone experienced something of a flashback when referee Willie Collum raced to book Brown, much to the delight of the home support, as he chirped away at the officials on the touchline.

Rangers upped the intensity again though and Scott Wright, James Tavernier and Silva all failed to convert good opportunities to seal the result.

The crucial second arrived when substitute Todd Cantwell dinked a delightful chip across goal. The ball eventually fell to Silva on the turn and he slammed home from close range.

Philippe Clement's side progress but a lot of credit must go to the Championship club, who showed quality and resilience to make this a genuine contest in which they more than held their own.

Player of the match - Oscar Cortes (Rangers)

What they said

Rangers manager Philippe Clement: "It was a mature performance from the team and the most positive thing was we could give minutes to the players who have just come in and players who have been injured."

"The fans here are incredibly loyal and incredibly fanatic. It gives a good signal to the team that the fans are behind them."

Ayr United manager Scott Brown: "We stuck by our guns, we had a game plan. The young ones did really well today. They expressed themselves really well. We need to get points on the board now. The league's the priority.

"It was only a matter of time [before I was booked]. He [referee Willie Collum] should've sent off Fabio Silva for his second tackle. It's a pressure situation, people can't deal with it."

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