East Fife 0-3 Rangers

Anton Dowds works his way down the wing. Pic by Kenny Mackay.
Anton Dowds works his way down the wing. Pic by Kenny Mackay.

East Fife won't be judged this season on their performances against the likes of Dundee United, Hearts and Rangers.

But if they were, then there could be absolutely no complaints about how they've fared.

One win, one draw, one defeat, four goals conceded and three scored against some of the country's most famous full-time teams is no bad return.

On budgets alone, these three clubs should be blowing East Fife out of the water - but none of them did.

On Sunday Rangers arrived at Bayview aiming to bring a halt to the Methil club's impressive Betfred Cup run and, let's be in no doubt about it, the better team on the day won.

Steven Gerrard was able to make 10 changes from the side which beat Midtjylland during the week, and could still boast the likes of Jermain Defoe, Greg Stewart, Andy Halliday, Jordan Jones and Joe Aribo in his team.

Rangers operate on a totally different scale from East Fife, but the Ibrox side left Bayview knowing they had been in a real cup tie.

The first half in particular saw the Fifers go toe to toe with the Gers.

Defoe had an early penalty shout snubbed when he went down under a challenge from Stewart Murdoch, but apart from that there was no real threat on Jordan Hart's goal.

East Fife weren't prepared to simply sit back and hope for the best and went in search of the opening goal themselves.

They should have netted it on 16 minutes when Liam Watt's cross found Aaron Dunsmore in acres of space at the back post.

The Rangers defence was posted missing and should have been punished by the midfielder.

But Dunsmore couldn't squeeze his shot past Wes Foderingham.

The Fifers knew they had to make the most of any chances which came their way and had passed up a glorious one.

They were made to pay for it 10 minutes later with a moment of class from Defoe.

Filip Helander made his move up the park and picked out the former England international.

Defoe had plenty of work to do, but one sublime first touch took him away from Ross Dunlop and in on goal.

The former Spurs and England striker had done the hard work with one flick of his boot and made no mistake from close range.

East Fife responded well and refused to lie down.

Anton Dowds and Ryan Wallace put in a terrific shift up front while Watt, Scott Agnew and Dunsmore were tireless in the midfield.

Rangers had the bulk of play, though, with Jones and Aribo particularly eye catching down the left.

They added to their lead when Jones headed into Helander's path inside the box.

He couldn't get a clear shot away but did enough to force Dunlop into knocking the ball into his own net.

Again the Fifers refused to crumble and had a couple of decent chances to get one back.

Watt picked out Chris Duggan's run into the box but the sub found Foderingham equal to his drive.

Watt then carved out an opening for himself inside the box but instead of taking the shot on squared to Agnew who found himself smothered by the visiting defence.

With the game starting to peter out Steven Gerrard's side added a third when Hart's punch clear caught in the wind and dropped inside the six yard box where the terrific Aribo was waiting to stab home.

Boss Young said: “You’re always disappointed with a defeat - but we matched them at times.

“Again we had chances and we’ve been saying that over the past few games.

“Aaron Dunsmore has a good chance and we have a couple of others at 0-0 and 1-0 which we didn’t take and they end up punishing you."