RANGERS eased into the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup and continued their early season momentum with a comfortable victory over East Fife.

A first half strike from Jermain Defoe put Steven Gerrard’s side on course for the last eight and the tie was done when Filip Helander netted his first goal for the Light Blues.

Joe Aribo completed the scoring in the final minutes as Rangers took their first step on the road to Hampden after a workmanlike performance.

Boss Gerrard made ten changes to the side that played on Thursday night and undoubtedly had one eye on the Europa League clash with Legia Warsaw this week as a host of regulars – including Allan McGregor, James Tavernier, Steven Davis and Alfredo Morelos – sat out the trip to Methil.

Glen Kamara was the only survivor as Helander made his competitive debut and the likes of Greg Docherty and Greg Stewart were given a chance to impress in difficult conditions.

Gerrard would have been satisfied with how the Gers started but it took until the 26th minute for the deadlock to be broken by Defoe.

Helander was the architect as he moved forward with the ball into midfield and slipped a pass into the feet of Defoe. His turn took him away from Ross Dunlop on the edge of the area and he made no mistake with a clinical finish that beat keeper Jordan Hart.

The Englishman had come close after just ten minutes as Hart saved at his near post, while another effort from a tight angle was blocked as Rangers created a handful of chances in the first half.

East Fife were only able to carve out the one but Aaron Dunsmore couldn’t make the most of it in the 17th minute. The ball fell to Dunsmore at the back post, but Wes Foderingham was out sharply to save well and deny Darren Young’s side the opener.

It was to prove a frustrating afternoon thereafter for the hosts and when Rangers doubled their lead shortly after the break there was no way back for East Fife.

Stewart’s free-kick from the right was headed back into the danger area by Jordan Jones and Helander challenged for it with Dunlop. The Swede marked his first start with his first goal.

Gerrard then turned to his bench as Docherty and Stewart were replaced and Andy King and Brandon Barker were given their debuts after becoming the latest additions to the Ibrox squad.

But it was Aribo that got the final goal of the afternoon as East Fife failed to clear a corner and he slotted home from six yards to round off a straightforward victory.