12 March 2023

Michael Beale happy to see Rangers overcome Raith challenge to reach semi-finals

12 March 2023

Michael Beale was pleased to see Rangers overcome a different type of challenge to get past Raith Rovers and into the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

After a 3-1 home cinch Premiership win against Kilmarnock last week and a 4-1 victory at Hibernian on Wednesday night, the cup holders came up against a resolute Championship side at Ibrox.

It took until the 42nd minute before the Light Blues got the breakthrough when defender Connor Goldson headed in from a Borna Barisic corner.

Rovers defender Ryan Nolan scored an own goal in the 58th minute before Gers substitute Scott Arfield made it 3-0 with three minutes remaining as the holders joined Celtic, Championship side Inverness and the winners of Monday night’s Falkirk versus Ayr United clash in the last-four draw.

Beale said: “We’ve played three games this week and faced three different types of challenges, today Raith tried to make the game really difficult by staying in.

“We had 18 corners, 24 shots. When the first goal goes in from a corner the game you hope it opens up a bit but it didn’t, they stayed disciplined and stuck to their task so it made for a slow game.

“Although it was our third game in a week I’d like us to be a little bit sharper in and around the box.

“I thought Borna Barisic put in some fantastic crosses today and we need people to go in and challenge for those.

“But it was a slow game, there were a lot of niggly injuries, and I’m just glad we’re through to the semi-final.

“They were really deep and I can’t choose how the other team approach the game, we can only face the problems that are put in front of us.

“In midweek Hibs came and tried to face us head on and left spaces and we were really ruthless.

“Raith tried a different tactic of being really compact in the game. We still got into really good areas and I’m expecting us to do slightly better.

“But the way they played the game we had to see it out professionally and we did that in the end.

“After the high of Wednesday we had to go through that one today and the most important things were a clean sheet, three goals and we move on.”

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos, who came on as a second-half substitute, has reportedly signed a pre-contract with Sevilla but Beale has not discussed it with the Colombia international.

He said: “I am not sure that is the case. If it is we will find out in the coming days. My focus has been on the game.

“He has trained all week. I just decided to go with the two forwards that played so well on Wednesday.

“No, we have not discussed it. I have not seen any change in him.

“Obviously he has been free to speak to whatever club he likes for a good while, now that we are into March. But we haven’t spoken about it.”

Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray was proud of the way his depleted side performed.

The former Rangers player said: “We are disappointed to be out of the Scottish Cup. We wanted to go further obviously.

“But my emotion right now is pride in the football players, I thought they were excellent.

“I thought the discipline and the shape and structure they carried out was great.

“Also pride in the supporters we brought today and the appreciation they showed us towards the end.

“But to a man I thought our players gave everything within the game.”

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