Ten-man Rangers won a place in the last four of the CIS Insurance Scottish League Cup in dramatic circumstances in Dingwall last night.
The Ibrox side looked to have progressed comfortably when Shota Arveladze and Claudio Reyna both found the net in the first half. But Steven Mackay scored for Ross County in the 89th minute and the game erupted when Lorenzo Amoruso hauled down Conor Gethins in the final minute of the game.
The Italian was shown the red card as the challenge was on the last man and Ian Maxwell stepped up for the penalty kick. But the Rangers goalkeeper Stefan Klos produced an excellent save to deny County the chance to force the game to extra time.
The Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, appeared to have made his peace with Michael Ball following their public spat during Sunday's Old Firm defeat to Rangers, as the defender was handed a starting role.
Rangers had their first chance after 12 minutes when Arveladze burst through on goal before sending the ball to Ronald de Boer, but the goalkeeper Tony Bullock raced off his line to block. He was left helpless just two minutes later, though, when the visitors took the lead.
Arveladze's pass was met by Peter Lovenkrands out on the right flank and he took the ball round the keeper before setting up Arveladze for the shot which the Georgian duly fired home from close range.
Rangers' hard work paid off after 31 minutes when they doubled their lead. Ball's throw-in was met by De Boer and, although his flick-on deflected off a County player, the ball fell kindly to Reyna who crashed home the second goal.
County had their moments before the break and they were in an even more determined mood after the interval. After 61 minutes Don Cowie squared a superb ball across the face of goal into the path of Alex Bone and only an impressive save from Klos prevented the striker from scoring.
Then it was Rangers' turn to threaten Bullock's goal again. Michael Mols, who had replaced Lovenkrands, released Ball and his cross was met by Arveladze, but his header was just wide of a post after 72 minutes.
Five minutes later Rangers missed another glorious chance. Russell Latapy fired the ball into the box and Mols pounced only to drive the shot wide. But still the First Division side refused to give up and Steven Hislop's long-range shot went just past the post.
Ross County: Bullock; Maxwell, Irvine, Webb, Perry (Mackay, 87), Robertson, Cowie, Hastings, Boukkra (McCormick, 76), Bone (Gethins, 80), Hislop. Substitutes not used: Anselin, Gonet (gk).
Rangers: Klos; Amoruso, Wilson, Ball, Ross, De Boer (Mols, 58), Reyna, Ferguson, Lovenkrands (Latapy, 59), Arveladze, Caniggia (Konterman, 71). Substitutes not used: Flo, Christiansen (gk).
Referee: J Rowbotham.
* Celtic's CIS Insurance Cup quarter-final at Livingston was called off before kick-off last night because of a power failure at Almondvale Stadium.Reuse content