Rangers came from behind to see off Morton and book their place in the third round of the Viaplay Cup at Ibrox.

A Cyriel Dessers penalty cancelled out Grant Gillespie’s effort from 12 yards after a dramatic start to the second half. Substitute Danilo bagged the winner just minutes later.

Michael Beale’s side now turn their attentions to their Champions League play-off clash with PSV Eindhoven next week as they look to secure group stage football this season.


Rangers are in the hat for the next round. Ultimately, it was job done and mission accomplished and Beale can take that positive from a tie that was a lot tighter than it should have been or needed to be.

A defeat here would have piled huge pressure on Beale just weeks into the campaign but the Englishman avoided that scenario as his side came from behind to progress against their Championship visitors.

The first weeks of the campaign have not exactly been overwhelmingly encouraging for this new look side and Rangers remain very much a work in progress as they prepare for their toughest test yet and the visit of PSV.

Losing to Kilmarnock on the opening day was a setback that Beale’s side are still recovering from. This win was a miniscule part in that process but the unthinkable was avoided at least.

Overcoming PSV and securing Champions League football would be the first real achievement for this group. If that is to happen, significant improvement must be found.


It took Rangers just two minutes to carve out their first chance of the afternoon as Rabbi Matondo burst down the left and was denied at the near post. The Ton would get to the break without their goal being breached.

Dessers was denied after a neat turn and shot and then saw a goal ruled out for a soft foul after he was harshly judged to have fouled Darragh O'Connor.

Matondo saw an effort cleared off the line and Jamie MacDonald – star between the sticks - made a terrific stop to clear a Kieran Dowell free-kick. Rangers dominated in terms of possession but the crucial opening goal eluded them after a largely lethargic and ponderous 45 minutes.

Losing the first goal sparked Beale’s side into life. After Gillispie and Dessers scored from the spot, Danilo won it with a clinical finish from the edge of the area and it was a case of all’s well that ends well.

The closing stages were nervy, though, as Rangers failed to kill the game off and this was an occasion that wouldn’t have done much to alleviate the fears amongst the support.

The Ibrox crowd have seen this particular movie all too often and will be expecting an improvement in that regard over the course of the campaign given the finance invested in Beale’s forward line.


This fixture has looked like an ideal opportunity for Beale since the draw was made. It was one that he took as eight changes were made from the Champions League clash with Servette in midweek.

This couldn’t be described as an experimental line-up, though. Johnly Yfeko and Matondo are fringe members of the squad but the remainder of those that came into the side – including the likes of Dowell and Dessers – are valuable members of Beale’s group and will have a significant part to play over the course of the campaign.

An outing against Championship opposition isn’t exactly the perfect platform to make a bid for a Champions League spot and Beale won’t have been swayed by what the likes of John Lundstram or Sam Lammers produced here. It was a valuable exercise for Dujon Sterling, though, and Matondo was bright down the left, even if his lack of quality at key moments was evident once again in a showing that summed up his Rangers career.

The strength of the Ibrox squad was evident as Danilo, Ianis Hagi and Abdallah Sima were introduced from the bench before Kemar Roofe and Adam Devine were given a run out.

Ultimately, Rangers had too much for Morton but this was an afternoon that wouldn’t have given Beale many selection headaches ahead of the visit of PSV as too many went through the motions.


Both of the penalties that referee David Dickinson awarded were subject to lengthy VAR reviews as the whistler was advised to check the monitor and then made his mind up. Neither could be classed as stonewallers, however, as Kirk Broadfoot found himself involved at both ends.

The former Ibrox defender won the first spot-kick after an incident with Dessers. The striker was culpable with a sloppy touch inside the area and a wild swing at the ball saw him connect with Broadfoot. The contact with minimal and the award was soft.

Just minutes later, the same could be said of the incident involving Broadfoot and Leon Balogun as a shirt pull was spotted after several views of the replay. Morton’s joy was short lived.

The visitors were dreaming of an upset when Gillispie slotted home. As soon as Dessers did likewise, Rangers were level and always looked like going on to win.

With four minutes left, the VAR team were involved again. This time, there was no decision to be made as Yfeko made an excellent challenge to deny George Oakley six yards out.


It was always going to be an afternoon where Morton took to the pitch more in hope than expectation. Boss Imrie can be proud of the way his players equipped themselves, though, and this was a performance that they can build on when they return to Championship action at home to Arbroath next weekend.

A flurry of half chances arrived midway through the first half as Jack Butland saved a Robbie Muirhead free-kick, Robbie Crawford almost broke free in behind and Oakley was crowded out inside the area.

Getting in at the break level was an achievement for the visitors. At that stage, the mood in the home ranks was contrasting to that amongst a sizeable travelling support that would have been encouraged by what Imrie’s side were producing.

Seven minutes after the break, the Ton were delirious as Gillespie showed admirable composure to send Butland the wrong way from 12 yards. It wouldn’t last.

The Ton were organised and committed and ensured this wasn’t a straightforward win for Rangers. The result will frustrate and disappoint Imrie but there were plenty of positives to take back to Cappielow.