Gers ease past St Mirren
Velicka, Boyd and Miller send Gers to final
Last Updated: 25/04/09 2:26pm
Velicka celebrates his opener
Kris Boyd netted his 100th goal for Rangers to help them to a 3-0 win over St Mirren in their Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.
Rangers got off to a flying start with in-form forward Andrius Velicka firing them in front from close-range after just two minutes.
Boyd notched up his milestone on 66 minutes with a clinical finish after being played in by Steven Davis.
Substitute Kenny Miller came off the bench to grab a third 20 minutes from time with a fine volleyed-finish.
The only sour note for Rangers was a knee injury picked up by key midfielder Pedro Mendes in the first half, following a challenge by Will Haining which forced the Portuguese ace to be stretchered off.
St Mirren's last victory over the Light Blues in the Scottish Cup had been at the semi-final stage in 1925/26 and that statistic looked safe when Rangers forged ahead with just over a minute gone.
OpenerMidfielder Steven Davis fed Boyd inside the Saints box and when his shot was partially blocked by Paisley stopper Will Haining, Velicka beat Jack Ross to the loose ball and lifted it into the roof of the net from six yards out.
It was a disastrous start for the Buddies and, in the 10th minute, it took a smart save from Mark Howard to prevent the Ibrox side doubling their lead.
The St Mirren keeper dived to his left to keep out Pedro Mendes's drive from the edge of the box after the midfielder had been set up by Velicka.
Saints came alive for the first time in the 18th minute when a 30-yard snap shot from midfielder Steven Thomson had Alexander stretching to tip over the bar.
The Govan men survived the corner but looked to be wobbling as the St Mirren players found an extra yard and their fans found their voices.
When St Mirren's short burst of activity subsided, Rangers re-imposed themselves. Haining almost put his side in trouble in the 28th minute when his attempted clearance was charged down by Mendes, but slack play by Velicka allowed the Paisley side to breathe again.
And then, in the 40th minute, Mendes was stretchered off following a clash with Haining, to be replaced by Nacho Novo.
A minute from the break, Velicka had the chance to double his tally when he was played in by Davis but this time, under pressure from St Mirren left-back Mo Camara, he drove wide
There were loud Paisley claims for a penalty four minutes after the restart when Steven Whittaker tackled Andy Dorman right on the line of the penalty area.
However, referee Calum Murray indicated that the Rangers full-back had taken the ball.
On the hour mark, with the game simply drifting along on a sea of misplaced passes, Miller came on for the tiring Velicka.
In the 66th minute the Ibrox side struck on the break with Davis again the architect.
LandmarkThe Northern Ireland international drove at the Saints defence before slipping in Boyd who drove his left-footed shot from 16 yards past Howard for his 100th goal for Rangers.
But in the 69th minute, Miller combined with Davis inside the St Mirren penalty area before sending a low shot past Howard and with that, the Ibrox club had sealed their final appearance.
Howard pulled off a great save from Miller to prevent the former Celtic player grabbing his second but by that time, any heat that had been in the tie had dissipated.
Novo tested Howard with a drive before Northern Ireland international Andrew Little replaced Boyd to make his Rangers first-team debut.
Novo sent a shot screaming over the bar with five minutes remaining and as the crowd of 32,431 continued to thin out, Maurice Edu twice fired wide from distance.