It was a disappointing end to a great League Cup campaign as Queens crashed out of the cup after a 5-0 defeat to Premiership outfit Rangers at Ibrox.
A decent Queens support making a lot of noise
Jason Holt gave the home side the lead in the first-half with a close range finish and after half-time stand-in captain Andy Halliday doubled Gers` lead before Martyn Waghorn claimed the match ball with a 20 minute hat-trick to make sure his side were in the hat for the semi-finals.
Queens were unchanged for the fourth game running after their 3-1 victory over Raith Rovers at the weekend. Mark Warburton made four changes to his Rangers side who drew at home to Ross County on Saturday. But livewire Josh Windass pulled up during the warm-up and was replaced in the starting eleven by midfielder Niko Kranjcar.
The hosts dominated possession for the opening ten minutes but didn`t create any clear-cut chances. The only attempt at goal was from right-back James Tavernier after he sprinted past Dale Hilson and from 20 yards hit a shot well high and wide of Lee Robinson`s goal.
But Queens counter-attacked from a Rangers attack and Stephen Dobbie looked to have been fouled on the half-way line by Halliday, but nothing was given, the ball fell to Dale Hilson who tried to get past Danny Wilson but the former Hearts defender body checked Hilson to concede a free-kick and was the first name in refs Don Robertson`s book. Dobbie lined-up the free-kick from 35-yards, it would have been a spectacular way to break the deadlock but it wasn`t to be for the former Blackpool hitman as the ball ended up high in the stand.
The Light Blues had a chance of their own on 17 minutes when the ball fell kindly to Harry Forrester on the edge of the box and hit a powerful effort but was deflected out for a corner by the sturdy Queens defence.
Robinson was called into action again four minutes as he punched the ball clear from Michael O`Halloran`s cross, but only as far to Tavernier on the edge of the box, the Englishman hit the ball first-time but the Queens stopper was used his agility well and managed to keep the game level.
Determination from Hilson
Skelton`s men were certainly under the cosh and fell behind on 33 minutes. Kranjcar fed the ball to O`Halloran on the right side and the ex-St Johnstone forward burst down the by-line before crossing for midfielder Jason Holt to slot the ball home from close range.
Rangers could have extended their lead two minutes later when the lively Forrester reacted the fastest from a loose ball from Darren Brownlie and got a shot away but was deflected wide by captain Andy Dowie. Left-back Lee Hodson then found himself in the box and curled a superb effort narrowly wide of Robinson`s right-hand post.
Queens couldn`t get into their groove at all and mistakes were occurring when Brownlie lost the ball cheaply to Martyn Waghorn and attempted a shot from 40-yards out which had Robinson worried but the former Rangers `keeper caught the ball.
Forrester was running the show for the hosts but was unable to help add to their lead before half-time.
It wasn`t a great first-half for the Doonhamers as Mark Warburton`s side dominated and deservedly took a 1-0 half-time lead.
Rangers 1-0 QOS
Rangers gaffer Mark Warburton made a change before the second period kicked off as Barrie McKay replaced goal scorer Holt. Queens themselves made their first substitution five minutes after the restart, Grant Anderson off for Australian Lyndon Dykes. The winger did make a positive impact and Queens were beginning to look dangerous. Hamill swung in a corner from the right into the crowded Gers box and Dowie`s header took a nick off a Rangers defender.
Dowie gets his head on the ball
The Doonhamers were now giving the travelling support something to shout about and had two half-chances in the space of a minute. Substitute Dykes sprayed the ball to Lyle on the edge of the box and the veteran striker turned and blasted his strike over the bar.
The Australian was causing problems on the right-hand side and laid the ball to Dobbie but the hitman couldn`t add to his nine goals as his shot across former teammate Matt Gilks went wide.
No free kick for Lyle
On the hour mark, the hosts could have went down to ten men when Harry Forrester came in with a late challenge on Jordan Marshall. Referee Don Robertson decided the foul would only warrant a yellow card but on another day it could have been red.
Two minutes later the Ibrox outfit doubled their lead when Halliday got past his marker, received the ball from McKay and curled a left-foot strike past Robinson into the top corner. The hosts were now in control and made it three in quick fashion. McKay was again the supplier as he sprayed the ball to Waghorn and hit a sublime curling effort from 20 yards low into the net.
Gavin Skelton made his remaining two changes five minutes later, Jake Pickard replaced Kyle Jacobs and Dean Brotherston on for Derek Lyle.
But Skelton`s last throw of the dice couldn`t stop a fired up Gers getting a fourth with twenty minutes to go. O`Halloran received the ball on the right and his low cross was met by Waghorn who lifted the ball into the far corner to all but secure a semi-final spot. Waghorn was on target again on 83 minutes to complete the hat-trick when Kranjcar`s lovely flick inside the area found the striker and he despatched it with no hesitation.
Queens did have a couple of chances to grab a consolation when Dykes linked-up with Dobbie on the right but Queens` top scorer`s shot went inches wide of the post. Dobbie was frustrated once more when he managed to squeeze past Clint Hill before he hit a powerful low from the edge of the area but Gilks was on hand to keep his clean-sheet intact.
It was a disappointing performance from Queens but the player`s focus is now switched towards Saturday`s top of the league fixture against Hibernian at Palmerston.