FOOTBALL: Rangers STORM ON; Arbroath 0 RANGERS 3 Tennents Scottish Cup Third Round: Arbroath as They Blow Them out McLeish's Men Put the Wind Up
Byline: Max THOMPSON
RAMPANT Rangers blew away Arbroath in the gales of Gayfield last night to storm into the fourth round.
Inspired by another magnificent performance from skipper Barry Ferguson, the holders were never in any danger of being upset by the First Division part-timers.
Brilliant Baz set Gers on their way with his 15th goal of the season before they wrapped up victory with further strikes from Craig Moore and Shota Arveladze.
And with Ferguson in such majestic form, Ibrox gaffer Alex McLeish must be confident his side can go all the way and lift the trophy again at Hampden on May 31.
The only down side for Big Eck as Rangers came out of cold storage after the winter break was a nasty clash of heads near the end between Lorenzo Amoruso and Fernando Ricksen.
Both players sustained nasty cuts and had to be rushed to hospital for stitches and checks for concussion.
After just a minute, Ferguson picked the ball up in midfield and rifled in a 25-yard left-foot drive that crashed off Craig Hinchcliffe's bar. Michael Mols managed to mis-hit the rebound wide from three yards.
The influential Ferguson soon slipped into his pre-winter break groove, and Hinchcliffe had to palm over a right-foot curler from the Scotland star in the 12th minute.
It was all Rangers as the SPL leaders sought out the opening goal, and Ricksen did well on the right to come through two crunching tackles and feed Maurice Ross.
The young defender cut inside full-back John Cusik, but his left-foot effort was very weak and trickled into the keeper's arms.
Arbroath were chasing shadows as Rangers knocked the ball about, and the home fans celebrated as if they had won the cup itself when they won a corner in the 22nd minute, but it was easily mopped up.
Then, in the 27th minute, the inevitable goal did come - and it was no surprise Ferguson bagged it.
Neil McCann took a quick corner to Ronald de Boer and he slipped a pass to Fergie on the edge of the box.
The Gers' playmaker bent in a curling left-foot shot which Arveladze jumped over, and it went into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Rangers grabbed number two just five minutes later. Ricksen clipped over a corner from the right, and Aussie defender Moore rose unchallenged to power a header past the despairing Hinchcliffe.
McCann had a chance to make it three before the break after latching onto Ross's defence-splitting pass, but the winger wildly across goal. …