OVERTURNING a 39-point deficit on a rampant Celtic side over a 38-game season seems like an outlandish demand to put on Pedro Caixinha’s Rangers but they only need to win four to claim the BetFred Cup. And you can make that three after this impressive demolition job against Dunfermline Athletic. On this evidence, the very least it should be is fun to watch.

It hasn’t exactly been plain sailing for this bullish Portuguese matador since he first set foot in Scottish football. There was the ignominy of presiding over the biggest-ever home defeat against Celtic, the humbling against Luxembourgish minnows Progres Niederkorn. Bigger challenges await, of course, starting with Hibs this weekend.

But this may just go down as a night when the Pedro project started to come together. Four goals up within 26 minutes, courtesy of strikes from Kenny Miller, James Tavernier, a first goal for the club from Alfredo Morelos and headline-stealing peach of a free-kick from Bruno Alves, Rangers fans spent one of their more enjoyable nights in recent times here, watching a team attacking with pace, verve and ability. Their players seemed to be enjoying themselves too – something which couldn’t always be said here – not least when Daniel Candeias matched his countryman’s dead-ball exploits and Morelos grabbed a second after the interval.

Loading article content

Morelos, a pacy bustling little figure from Colombia who was quietly tearing up Finnish football before he alighted in Glasgow, didn’t disappoint as he came in for Eduardo Herrera, the Mexican striker whose contribution thus far has divided onlookers. Jordan Rossiter took Ryan Jack’s role at the base of the midfield, and James Tavernier was handed Lee Hodson’s role at right back, a change which became of the rather more enforced variety when Lee Wallace injured himself in the warm-up and Hodson’s services were required instead at left back. Jak Alnwick has been given the consolation of the cup gloves while Wes Foderingham monopolises league action.

By the time Dunfermline’s players looked up at the scoreboards, 26 minutes in, to see themselves four goals in arrears they must have felt like packing it in. The first goal, after five minutes, came right up the gut – Miller and Morelos working together well before the Colombian’s shrewd pull back picked out the onrushing Graham Dorrans. Sean Murdoch made the save but Miller’s high finish was too sharp for him.

Bruno Alves has acquired hero status just by turning up in Govan but with one sweep of that right boot yesterday he started to pay it back. There was an anticipation around this place as he picked up the ball after Callum Morris had needlessly fouled Morelos down the left channel, and they weren’t disappointed when his right foot free kick from an angle 25 yards out flew into Murdoch’s top corner.

Assuming he can adapt to Scottish football, Morelos looks an interesting player who should get opportunities and score goals. He read the script when some more quick pressing and passing gave Miller the opportunity to give Rangers an overload on the edge of the box. His left foot finish at the near post wasn’t easy either.

While others ran their legs off, the orchestrators in chief – Dorrans and Miller – joined Alves in getting an early ovation. Both were involved in goal number four, the former finding the latter in enough time and space to play in the onrushing Tavernier, who finished well.

Candeias put his hand up for ancilliary set-piece duties in the second half with a cute right foot curler from 25 yards, then Morelos got his second of the night after Tavernier had seen his shot saved.