Scottish League Cup - Second Round
East Fife0Rangers3

East Fife 0-3 Rangers: Filip Helander nets as visitors reach last eight

Defoe's superb turn and finish gave Rangers a first-half lead
Jermain Defoe's superb turn and finish gave Rangers a first-half lead

Filip Helander claimed a debut goal and assist as Rangers overcame a spirited East Fife to set up a Scottish League Cup quarter-final away to Livingston.

The Swedish defender bundled home in the second half after supplying Jermain Defoe for a superb opener.

Midfielder Joe Aribo was rewarded for a stand-out performance with a late third against the League One hosts.

Rangers - showing 10 changes - had a scare at 0-0 when Aaron Dunsmore forced a fine save from Wes Foderingham.

But while Darren Young's East Fife made life difficult for the Premiership side, they tired after the break.

Rangers loanee Andy King and new signing Brandon Barker made their debuts off the bench as Steven Gerrard's side maintained their unbeaten start to the season on three fronts and will travel to face Livingston in the last eight in September.

No drop in quality from much-changed side

The wholesale changes made by Gerrard from Thursday's 3-1 Europa League win over Midtjylland were less down to complacency and more a sign of the wealth of options at his disposal.

The manager's wish of having two players fighting for every position has been fulfilled with the influx of 10 summer signings as the club seek to end their eight-year wait for major silverware.

Rangers fans have been keen for a first glimpse of Helander - a £3.5m acquisition from Bologna - and he slotted in seamlessly with an encouraging performance at both ends of the park.

Aribo has shown plenty of promise since his switch from Charlton Athletic and the rangy midfielder already looks undroppable. The 23-year-old stood tall as a natural class act full of flair and industry on the artificial surface, coming close to a goal of the season contender in the second half after dancing past four opponents.

Despite there being 26 places between the sides in the league ladder, East Fife were neither overawed nor outplayed.

Young - whose side won at Dundee United and edged out Hearts on penalties on their path to the last 16 - had pledged to "have a go" at the Ibrox men and was true to his word.

Indeed, they almost broke the deadlock but Foderingham's save spurred Rangers on to claim a terrific opener. Defoe collected a Helander pass with back to goal and one touch took him him spinning away from two defenders to plant a low finish in at Jordan Hart's near post.

Graphic

With so many Rangers players eager to stake a claim for a regular first-team slot, there was no let-up in intensity.

Defoe clipped the outside of a post, while Andy Halliday pinged a free-kick a couple of yards too high, and Greg Stewart pulled a shot wide as the hosts survived further damage before the break.

Aribo was kept out by a terrific Hart save and Defoe rippled the side-netting shortly after the restart as the fading Fifers struggled to stem the flow after their energy-sapping efforts.

It was game over when a Greg Stewart free-kick was headed down by Jordan Jones for Aribo to convert from six yards out.

Chris Duggan could have claimed a consolation goal, drawing a save from Foderingham, as Young's team refused to let their heads drop.

But Aribo got the strike his performance deserved when Hart flapped at a corner and the ball bobbled around the penalty box before the midfielder knocked it in.

Man of the match - Joe Aribo

Helander enjoyed a dream debut in defence, only to be upstaged by Aribo who delivered a midfield masterclass.

Aribo orchestrated Rangers' attacking moves - his jinking runs were a constant danger - but wasn't afraid to do the dirty work, tracking back 40 yards to make key tackles.

It's now four goals in eight games for the 23-year-old and Gerrard looks to have landed an absolute bargain with the £350,000 capture from Charlton.

'It's no disgrace losing' - reaction

East Fife manager Darren Young: "The disappointment is that we didn't take our chances. We had openings in the first half and even at 1-0.

"If we do better in the final third, we would have made a better game of it. But it's no disgrace losing 3-0 to Rangers and our attitude and work-rate was excellent."

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: "When you are watching this game on TV, against a team two divisions below you, people think it will be straightforward.

But the pitch is a leveller, the conditions are a leveller, but we were professional and we showed a good attitude and our quality shone through so there was a lot of positives."

Line-ups

East Fife

  • 21Hart
  • 4Murdoch
  • 5DunlopBooked at 55mins
  • 3HigginsBooked at 29mins
  • 8Slattery
  • 2Dunsmore
  • 16DavidsonSubstituted forWatsonat 81'minutes
  • 11Agnew
  • 14WattSubstituted forDenholmat 81'minutes
  • 9Wallace
  • 15DowdsSubstituted forDugganat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Richardson
  • 6Watson
  • 7Denholm
  • 10Smith
  • 12Hunter
  • 17Duggan
  • 18Church

Rangers

  • 13Foderingham
  • 25Polster
  • 5Helander
  • 4Edmundson
  • 16Halliday
  • 17Aribo
  • 23DochertySubstituted forKingat 60'minutes
  • 18Kamara
  • 24StewartSubstituted forBarkerat 59'minutes
  • 9Defoe
  • 22JonesSubstituted forHastieat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Murphy
  • 19Katic
  • 21Barker
  • 26Firth
  • 29King
  • 31Barisic
  • 32Hastie
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
1,991

Match Stats

Home TeamEast FifeAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home3
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home18
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, East Fife 0, Rangers 3.

Full Time

Second Half ends, East Fife 0, Rangers 3.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Stewart Murdoch.

Foul by Filip Helander (Rangers).

Ryan Wallace (East Fife) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Craig Watson.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Stewart Murdoch.

George Edmundson (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Patrick Slattery (East Fife).

Attempt saved. Scott Agnew (East Fife) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! East Fife 0, Rangers 3. Joe Aribo (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Aaron Dunsmore.

Substitution

Substitution, East Fife. Craig Watson replaces Ross Davidson.

Substitution

Substitution, East Fife. Daniel Denholm replaces Liam Watt.

Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Chris Duggan (East Fife).

Attempt blocked. Andy King (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Jake Hastie replaces Jordan Jones.

Foul by Aaron Dunsmore (East Fife).

Joe Aribo (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Chris Duggan (East Fife) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Jermain Defoe (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

Attempt missed. Joe Aribo (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, East Fife. Chris Duggan replaces Anton Dowds.

Jordan Jones (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ross Davidson (East Fife).

Ryan Wallace (East Fife) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Filip Helander (Rangers).

Foul by Brandon Barker (Rangers).

Stewart Murdoch (East Fife) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Brandon Barker (Rangers).

Stewart Murdoch (East Fife) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Andrew Halliday (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Anton Dowds (East Fife).

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Andy King replaces Greg Docherty.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Brandon Barker replaces Greg Stewart.

Foul by Ross Dunlop (East Fife).

Greg Stewart (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! East Fife 0, Rangers 2. Filip Helander (Rangers) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jordan Jones.

Booking

Ross Dunlop (East Fife) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal