ALFREDO MORELOS grabbed FOUR goals as Rangers roared into the Scottish Cup quarter-finals with a demolition of Kilmarnock in tonight’s round five replay at Ibrox Stadium.
Playing some truly outstanding football throughout, Gers hammered the 10-man Ayrshiremen to make it through to the next round in style.
From the side which was held to a 0-0 draw by St Johnstone here in Govan on Saturday, Gerrard was able to include the returning Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Morelos in place of Ross McCrorie, Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe.
Both sides made a bright and lively start to the match, with Gers threatening down the right through Candeias and Morelos, while Killie had a shout for a penalty when Eamonn Brophy went down under a challenge from Joe Worrall inside the area.
With just seven minutes on the clock, however, the Light Blues took the lead with a quite scintillating piece of football.
Just as it looked as if Conor McAleny was about to race clear down the left for Killie, back came James Tavernier to not only intercept, but to also turn and set course for the opposing goal.
He then played the perfect ball to release his right-sided partner Candeias in-behind the defence, with the Portuguese sliding the perfect ball across goal for the arriving Alfredo Morelos to tap the ball home from just two yards out.
Incredible persistence from Morelos to chase down a lost cause and win the ball back from Stephen O’Donnell deep in the Killie box allowed the Colombian the chance to set up the incoming Scott Arfield, but his shot was weak and claimed easily by Daniel Bachmann.
And Bachmann was to be involved in the next major incident in the match on 25 minutes. As Ryan Kent waited to take a corner on the near-side, the goalkeeper appeared to catch Glen Kamara with an elbow in the area.
The altercation was spotted by the linesman on the far side, and after consulting with referee Alan Muir, Bachmann was red carded and had to be replaced by Jamie MacDonald.
Gers immediately looked to press home that advantage, and Morelos was millimetres away from grabbing a second from another Candeias cross before Tavernier rattled the underside of the crossbar with a ridiculously vicious effort from 25-yards.
It took until inside three minutes of stoppage time however for the second goal to arrive, and again, it came from the combination of Candeias and Morelos.
After again being released on the right by Tavernier, the quality of the delivery from Candeias was truly outstanding, and Morelos had the simple task of heading home from close range.
Not content with their 2-0 advantage, Gers could and should have made it three within three minutes of the restart.
After a combination of Kamara and Candeias dealt with a Killie corner, Borna Barisic was released down the left wing, and was joined by Kent and Arfield.
Barisic played the ball forward into the path of the overlapping Kent, and he cut the ball back to the front post for Arfield, but again, his shot was weak and easily taken by MacDonald.
Kent then had an effort of his own soon after from the edge of the area which curled just wide of the right-hand post before yet again, Candeias picked out Morelos in the area, though the chance of a hat-trick skipped away with the striker firing wide of the target.
Another, albeit much more difficult chance then came his way as he brushed Greg Taylor off the ball inside the area and brought out a decent stop from MacDonald at his near post.
Gerrard made a double substitution on the 74th minute with Steven Davis and Andy Halliday coming on for Scott Arfield and Borna Barisic, and within two minutes of coming on, Halliday made it three.
Beginning the move himself on the left, he released Kent down the left again before breaking is neck to receive the Englishman’s cutback on the edge of the box before slamming the ball into the back of the net.
That was three, and within a minute of the restart, it was four.
Superb pressure from Ryan Jack and Candeias forced Mikael Mdjoli to cough up the ball around 40 yards from goal before Candeias made it a hat-trick of assists, sliding the ball into the path of the oncoming Morelos with the Colombian going on to beat MacDonald from a tight angle at his front post with a quite wonderful finish for his own hat-trick on the night.
And three for Morelos then became four for him and five for rampant Gers.
Again, pressure from Jack on the edge of the box saw him win the ball back and play a simple ball into the path of Morelos to ram the ball again beyond MacDonald with so much conviction to add even more gloss to a wonderful night for the Gers.
On then to Pittodrie in the quarter-final a week on Sunday.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Goldson, Worrall, Barisic (Halliday, 74); Jack, Arfield (Davis, 74), Kamara (Lafferty, 79); Candeias, Morelos, Kent.
SUBS: Firth, Defoe, Katic, Coulibaly
KILMARNOCK: Bachmann, O’Donnell, Taylor, Bruce, Power, Dicker, McAleney (MacDonald, 26), S Boyd, Mulumbu, Brophy (Ndjoli, 79), Burke.
SUBS: McKenzie, K Boyd, Jones, Millen.
REFEREE: Alan Muir