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A BATTLING performance saw Stranraer come up short as their Scottish Cup adventure came to an end for another season.

Rangers, who are looking to lift the trophy for the 34th time, were heavy favourites coming into the game, with many suggesting it was a question of how many goals they would win by.

Positively, Stranraer gave a good account of themselves and will be looking to use that confidence boost in the remaining league games.

Stevie Farrell went with five in defence, with Connor McManus dropping into central defence alongside Adam Cummins and Scott Robertson, and Carlo Pignatiello and Jordan Allan out wide.

The midfield included club captain Jamie Hamill and Ryan Thomson, with Ryan Stevenson up top on his own.

Rangers, as expected, saw plenty of the ball and managed to create a number of chances.

However, Stranraer’s gameplan was clearly to allow the hosts to have the ball and force them into the wide areas.

By and large, Stranraer coped with those cross balls and it took until midway through the first half before Max Currie was called into action.

Jermain Defoe linked up well with Ryan Jack, with the former Aberdeen man through on goal.

Currie stood up well to the shot, with the ball clipping his foot and then the post before bouncing to safety.

The Stranraer number one enjoyed an impressive return to Ibrox, where he began his career, and stopped Andy Halliday by standing tall and blocking again with his foot.

Travelling fans could have been forgiven for having an anxious look or two to the electronic scoreboard as half time approached.

Barely seconds were remaining when Rangers were awarded a disputed corner.

Scott Arfield appealed for a corner while Adam Cummins insisted it was a goal kick.

The assistant referee sided with the home team, with Steven Davis taking the set piece.

George Edmundson attempted to flick the ball on but instead it fell into the path of Arfield, who took a touch before coolly slotting the ball home.

Things could have been worse though for the travelling fans as Rangers came within a whisker of scoring on the half time whistle.

Davis again whipped in the corner and Nikola Katic directed his header on goal, only for Currie to push the ball to safety.

Defoe would come close after the restart when Joe Aribo’s attempted cutback was cut out by Thomson.

The former England man managed to squeeze a shot on goal from a tight angle but Currie blocked at his near post.

Defoe would get the chance to put the game to bed after the hour mark though when he was brought down by Cummins.

There was little in the way of appeals against the decision and Defoe confidently sent Currie the wrong way from 12 yards.

Stranraer created little at the other end of the pitch but it was a disciplined defensive performance which limited a much-changed Rangers side.

Now, attention turns to the league, with the Blues looking to pick up their first away win of the campaign when they head to Airdrie on Saturday.

Rangers: Foderingham, Edmundson, Halliday, Katic, Jack, Davis, Aribo (Kennedy 81), Jones (Barker 64), Arfield, Defoe (Ojo 67), Patterson.
Not used: Flanagan, Polster, Mayo and Firth.

Stranraer: Currie, Robertson, Allan, Cummins, Hamill, McManus, Stevenson, Pignatiello, Thomson (Jones 81), Stirling (Hilton 70), Elliott (McIntyre 86).
Not used: Hamilton, Dunn, Phillips and Burgess.

Referee: John Beaton
Attendance: 38,560
HT: 1-0

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish