Boyd's 100th helps Rangers into Cup final
Kris Boyd scored his 100th goal for Rangers as he helped his side progress to the Scottish Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 semi-final win over St. Mirren at Hampden Park. Andrius Velicka gave Rangers the lead in the second minute when he poked the ball home from six yards out. Boyd then calmly slotted past Mark Howard after good work from Steven Davis to score his 100th goal for the Gers in 146 appearances since joining the club in January 2006.
Kenny Miller, on as a second-half substitute for Velicka, volleyed home the third as the Ibrox side sealed a 30 May meeting with either Falkirk or Dunfermline, who contest the other semi-final on 26 April. Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist said it had been a dream start for his side, despite a less-than-impressive overall performance.
"I don't think we kicked on from there and we were pretty poor until we got the second goal," he said. "I thought the second and third goals were great goals, but overall I was a bit disappointed for an hour."
St. Mirren manager Gus MacPherson, meanwhile, was left to rue an untidy start from his men.
"In every game we stress the importance of keeping things tight for the first 15 minutes, but we have not done that today," he said. "It was frustrating that we didn't create better opportunities, but it was the counter-attack that cost us."
Rangers showed they meant business from the start and Velicka headed wide from a Steven Smith cross before he gave his side the lead after just 74 seconds. A good run and pass from Davis played in Boyd and his blocked shot landed at the feet of the Lithuanian international, who prodded home high into the net from six yards out.
Mendes came close to doubling their lead after ten minutes with a curling shot from the edge of the box after being teed up by Velicka, but Mark Howard did well to turn it around the post. As the game progressed, St. Mirren grew in confidence and Neil Alexander had to be at his best to tip a powerful Steven Thomson drive from 25 yards out over the bar as it headed for the top corner.
Boyd should have done better when he headed high and wide under no pressure in the box from a Christian Dailly cross after 25 minutes. Rangers suffered a blow in the 38th minute when Portuguese midfielder Mendes had to be stretchered off after taking a heavy knock to the knee following a high challenge from Will Haining.
Velicka could have had his second of the game a minute before the break when he raced away from defender Mo Camara in the box after collecting a good ball from Davis, but the striker's wayward shot went well wide. St. Mirren fans were screaming for a penalty four minutes after the restart when Andy Dorman went down in the box under a challenge from Steven Whittaker, but referee Calum Murray indicated the defender had won the ball. In the 51st minute Boyd laid off the ball to strike partner Velicka whose bobbling shot from 25 yards went straight to Howard before Stephen McGinn replied for the Buddies and sent a low drive just wide of Alexander's post.
Boyd notched up a century of goals for Rangers in the 66th minute after a great run from the impressive Davis. The midfielder ran at the St. Mirren defence before releasing Boyd who calmly sent a low angled shot past Howard.
Davis was involved again as Miller, on as a subtitute for Velicka, made it 3-0 just four minutes later. The Northern Ireland international won a header in the box and played it back for Miller who guided a volley past the keeper from eight yards out.
Howard did well in the 75th minute to deny Miller his second when he made an excellent point blank save at the feet of the striker as he unleashed a powerful volley from just yards out. Maurice Edu then came close late on with a drive from the edge of the box as Rangers eased to victory.