Falkirk are out of the League Cup after a 4-0 defeat by Rangers – but the Bairns can take plenty of positives despite the scoreline.
Rangers, unsurprisingly, made a raft of changes to the starting XI with no fewer than seven changes, while the Bairns also made several changes as a result of positive Covid tests earlier in the week.
The Bairns got off to the worst possible start when Jermain Defoe opened the scoring just six minutes in, getting on the end of an excellent ball over the top by Goldson before firing home.
Despite going down so early, Falkirk didn’t immediately go into damage limitation with the League One table-toppers still looking to get forward and cause problems for their Premiership visitors.
Callumn Morrison looked most likely to make something happen for the Bairns but the gulf in ability was clear at times as the Gers defence mopped up everything thrown at them.
Rangers were forced into a change after 26 minutes after Brandon Barker picked up an injury, with Finland international Glen Kamara coming on to replace him.
Falkirk seemed to be coping fairly well defensively against the Light Blues but there was always a feeling that the Gers could step it up a gear and cut through the hosts’ defence.
The second goal did eventually come for Rangers, Calvin Bassey firing home after Morrison could only push Itten’s header into a ruck of bodies and the Gers man knocked the ball into the net.
Mark Durnan had Falkirk’s best chance to get themselves back into the game, sending a powerful header at goal but McLaughlin managed to keep it out and maintain Rangers’ advantage.
Just before half-time, it was 3-0 when Barisic fired a free-kick into the top corner but Morrison probably could have positioned himself a little bit better and made things a harder for the Croatian.
With both sides sticking with the same XI after the break, Falkirk almost immediately got back into the games, Sammon reacting first to a poor passback from Bassey only to be denied by the alert McLaughlin.
The Bairns didn’t seem to be letting the scoreline affect them, continuing to push forward and seeing a strike from the hard-working Alston held well.
Rangers must have taken umbrage at it as they went up the pitch and made it 4-0 with an excellent goal from Tavernier.
Barisic’s cross was delivered with pin-point accuracy and Tavernier volleyed home emphatically and finish off a fantastic move.
The Bairns soon turned to their subs with Aidan Connolly and Anton Downs replacing Sammon and Morrison for the final 40 minutes.
The scoreline meant Rangers took their foot off the gas a little, allowing Falkirk far more possession and Alston came close with volley before firing a free-kick in a dangerous area against the wall.
With the game dead as a contest, both sides looked happy to see the game out and focus on their upcoming fixtures.
Despite the heavy defeat, the Bairns acquitted themselves well but will have be more concerned with their League One title tilt rather than potential League Cup glory.
Falkirk: P.J. Morrison, Dixon, Hall, Durnan, Todd, Alston, Gomis, Sammon, Telfer, Kelly, C. Morrison.
Subs: Cantley, Mercer, Dowds, Connolly, Francis, Leitch, Deveney, Laverty, Miller
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Bassey, Barisic, Zungu, Arfield, Hagi, Barker, Itten, Defoe
Subs: Firth, Balogun, Kamara, Stewart, Middleton, Dickson, King, Kent, Morelos