Third-division Rangers showed they may have dropped out of the elite league, but are still a match for the teams in it as they eased to a 2-0 win over Premier League leaders Motherwell 2-0 in their third round League Cup match at Ibrox.
Motherwell had been the last SPL side to visit Ibrox when they played out a goalless draw in the final game of last season before Rangers were denied entry to the SPL and voted into the Scottish Football League in the summer. Despite having not won at Ibrox since May 1997 Stuart McCall's side arrived in Glasgow as favourites after impressing with their performances on their way to the top of the SPL.
However, Motherwell were on the back foot from the start and captain Lee McCulloch headed the Gers into a deserved 49th-minute lead before Dean Shiels volleyed home a fine second just seven minutes later to make a mockery of their lowly league status.
This time last year the Glasgow giants were defeating Kilmarnock to go top of the SPL, but against Motherwell none of that night's starting 11 remained. Ian Black had failed a late fitness test and his place went to Fraser Aird, who was making his first start for the Ibrox club. The youngster immediately impressed with Francisco Sandaza and Shiels failing to make the most of his crosses into the box following surging runs down the left wing.
Rangers' frenzied start had pinned Motherwell back in their own half, but when Tom Hateley got a rare sight of goal he fired a rising shot straight at Neil Alexander. McCulloch then fired an ambitious volley over the bar for Rangers after Shiels found him in the penalty box with a well worked free-kick.
A clash of heads between Shaun Hutchinson and Sandaza saw the latter carried off with Kyle Hutton replacing him in the 23rd minute.
Good skill on the wing saw the Northern Ireland international tee up McCulloch at the edge of the box, but the Rangers top-scorer shot weakly at Darren Randolph. The Rangers defence were caught napping in the 35th minute when a quickly taken free-kick saw Nicky Law race in on goal, but Alexander sprang out of his box to make a fine tackle and stop the danger.
The home side had failed to capitalise on their early chances in the first half, but they didn't make the same mistake in the second period. Aird took a short corner to Shiels who swung it in for McCulloch at the near post who bulleted a header beyond Randolph.
Motherwell looked shell-shocked and were lucky not to fall further behind a minute later when Aird cut in from the left and let fly with a shot that went just wide.
The Motherwell defence were being overrun and it wasn't long until Rangers increased their lead through Shiels when he showed great technique to swivel and volley Anestis Argyriou's cross low past the helpless keeper.