- Waghorn and Miller net doubles
- Halliday and Tavernier also on target
- Stanton and Cummings net for Hibs
- Rangers into second round of Challenge Cup
Rangers scored six as Mark Warburton’s first competitive match in charge ended with an emphatic Challenge Cup first-round victory over Hibernian.
Sam Stanton’s left-foot shot from distance gave Hibs the lead, but James Tavernier’s free-kick and a Martyn Waghorn double put Rangers in charge.
Jason Cummings pulled one back with a penalty only for Andy Halliday to find the top corner from outside the box.
Substitute Kenny Miller added two more from close range to complete the rout.
Promotion from the Scottish Championship is the priority for both teams, but the nature of the victory will encourage Warburton, with seven new signings in his starting line-up and three debutants scoring.
The two sides are expected to be engaged in a season-long tussle as they strive to return to Scotland’s top flight, but both managers would have wanted to start the campaign positively.
The rivalry already had an edge because of Rangers’ pursuit of the Hibs playmaker Scott Allan.
The midfielder had been the focus of attention leading up to the game, with Rangers having had two bids rejected and the player keen to move to Ibrox. The storyline was sidetracked for the game itself, though, with Hibs manager Alan Stubbs only naming Allan on the bench.
Hibs did not initially seem diminished without him and they carried the greater threat in the opening half hour, particularly with Cummings spinning into space behind the visiting defence.
Dominique Malonga ought to have opened the scoring, but side-footed over from the centre of the Rangers penalty area.
Stanton was more accurate from further out, though, and his strike from 20 yards flew past goalkeeper Wes Foderingham.
Rangers were neat and tidy in possession but lacked penetration, with their wide players peripheral and central midfielders lacking assertiveness.
It took a moment of individual aplomb for the team to regroup, with Tavernier sweeping a free-kick into the top corner from the left edge of the penalty area.
Moments later, the full-back impressed again as he slipped a pass through for Jason Holt, whose cross was converted from close range by Waghorn.
The goals changed the dynamic of the match and Waghorn struck again just after the interval, his shot bouncing into the net off Hibs goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
Allan eventually joined the game, in the 54th minute, to loud cheers from both sets of fans.
There was some hope for the home side when Barrie McKay was judged to have tripped Cummings inside the area, and the Hibs striker converted the penalty.
Rangers were unflustered, though, and Halliday curled an excellent shot in off the underside of the bar just two minutes later.
The debutants had made an impact, but the old guard of the squad were not to be bowed, and Miller struck twice from close range following crosses by Nicky Clark and McKay.
Allan’s future has yet to be resolved, and it is too early for judgements to be made, but Rangers made a bold opening statement.