Rangers 2 Heart of Midlothian 0: Darcheville ensures silver lining for Ibrox

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The Independent Online

Alan who? Rangers' issued their first post-Hutton report from Hampden Park last night and their departed £10m defender was not missed as they progressed to the CIS Cup final and within touching distance of their first silverware since the League title of 2005.

Victory was kick-started by a controversial second-half goal from the Rangers captain, Barry Ferguson, whose arm was instrumental in controlling a ball from Chris Burke into the box. Hearts were then bustled out of this semi, and Jean-Claude Darcheville's tap-in, again assisted by Burke, put the result beyond doubt.

"It maybe came off my arm, but I didn't mean it," Ferguson said afterwards. Quite possibly he didn't: the ball was travelling at speed. But for all that his subsequent spin and shot were stunning, he would not have scored without the arm. Not that he or any Rangers fan will care. They are hot CIS Cup favourites now.

In the final on 16 March they will play either Aberdeen or Dundee United. That pair will play their semi, abandoned this week, on Tuesday. "It's great to be in the final," said the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, whose second coming at Ibrox has just entered its second year. "I think we deserved to win tonight on an awkward pitch against physical opposition."

The sale of Hutton to Tottenham Hotspur for a fee that could reach £10m has already allowed Smith to act in the transfer window, with Christian Dailly a potentially significant loan capture yesterday from West Ham, and a deal done for Ipwich's goalkeeper, Neil Alexander.

Asked if he envisaged more signings today, Smith said: "I don't think so, but you can never tell."

Hutton's departure to White Hart Lane was softened not just by the fee but by the fact Rangers have a replacement in situ in Steven Whittaker.

Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Whittaker, Cuellar, Weir, Papac; Burke, Ferguson, Hemdani, Adam; McCulloch, Darcheville (Novo, 77). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Faye, Broadfoot, Boyd.

Heart of Midlothian (4-4-2): Banks; Neilson, Karipidis, Berra, Goncalves (Wallace, 84); Jonsson, Stewart, Palazuelos, Mikoliunas (Driver, 59); Nade (Beniusis, 72), Velicka. Substitutes not used: Basso (gk), McCann.

Referee: M McCurry .

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