Rangers manager Graeme Murty praised his players for their response after falling behind to Ayr United on a day that he admitted looked tailor-made for a big Scottish Cup upset.
Amid wild, wintry conditions on a difficult Somerset Park pitch, Rangers went 1-0 down to their League One opponents when a mistake from Wes Foderingham gave Alan Forrest an 11th-minute goal. Murty’s side levelled before the interval through Alfredo Morelos before romping into the quarter-finals with a 6-1 win.
“We showed patience and character after Ayr scored,” said Murty. “Those are the things, allied to the weather and the crowd, that can make you freeze, make you push too hard. But we kept our discipline.
“We scored the goals when we needed to score them. We’ve had games previously when we haven’t scored when we’ve been on top. We managed to do that today which allays a few fears for the players.
“It was a difficult tie against a team full of confidence. We made it a bit more of a challenge with the goal we gave away. But some of our play was really good.
“When we start to be a little bit more clinical with the sharpness and cleanness of our passing, we can be a threat to anyone.
“I’m really pleased for the guys who got their goals and that we stayed patient. They showed fantastic attitude and good character because that wasn’t easy today.”
Murty expressed his support for both Foderingham and Morelos, the Colombian striker being guilty of one of the misses of the season before he went on to grab a double.
“These things happen in football – there was no point in shouting or berating Wes,” said Murty. “He knew he put us in a hard situation but he’s a big guy who takes responsibility. I was confident we had enough to quality on the pitch and bench to get ourselves back into it.
“We made it a little bit more difficult because the goal gave them a lift but it’s about people being accountable and he did that. If we’re going to play out from the back then Wes is going to have the ball at his feet.
“We have always said Alfredo misses chances but you have to be there to miss them and it took a high level of technique to finish the first one.”
Ayr assistant manager Neil Scally, in charge on the day as medical advice kept manager Ian McCall at home after an eye operation, felt the score was harsh on the home side.
“I think 6-1 probably flattered Rangers,” said Scally. “It was a perfect start for us and although we rode our luck a couple of times in the first half we shaped up quite well.”