JOEY BARTON made his long-awaited Rangers debut as the Ibrox side claimed a 2-0 Betfred Cup win over Annan at Ibrox.
Mark Warburton gave the former England midfielder the last half an hour of the Group F clash and got an insight into what he is capable of with his energy and tenacity.
However, the highlight of an otherwise low-key opening home fixture was Barrie McKay’s sensational long-range opener after 30 minutes. Martyn Waghorn killed off Jim Chapman’s side with the second goal 15 minutes from time.
Striker Simon Murray blasted a hat-trick as Ladbrokes Scottish Championship Dundee United hit League Two Cowdenbeath for six.
Murray opened the scoring after just four minutes and after Lewis Toshney and Cameron Smith had made it 3-0 by the time the Group C game had reached the 21-minute mark, helped himself to two more either side of half-time in the 6-1 victory.
Chris Turner had reduced the early deficit with 25 minutes gone, but his effort counted for little with Henri Anier completing the rout at the death.
Championship counterparts Falkirk also saw off League Two opposition as first-half goals from Will Vaulks and Lee Miller and a late effort from Robert McHugh secured a 3-0 win over Elgin City in Group B.
St Mirren left it desperately late to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group G as Jack Baird snatched a 1-0 victory over Championship rivals Ayr with his decisive contribution coming three minutes into stoppage time.
In Group A, League One East Fife returned from Championship Dumbarton with a 2-0 victory as goals from Kevin Smith and Paul McManus before the break put them in the driving seat with Grant Gallagher’s 56th-minute dismissal for kicking out at Smith costing them any chance of launching a fightback.
East Fife head the group from League One Peterhead, who beat League Two Forfar 2-0 through Andy Munro’s own goal and a Rory McAllister penalty.
Brechin are hot on Falkirk’s heels in Group B after launching their campaign with a 2-1 win over Stirling Albion.
Ally Love gave them a 14th-minute lead, but they needed an Alan Trouten winner three minutes from time after Blair Henderson had levelled from the penalty spot.
Championship Dunfermline made short work of League Two Arbroath as they opened their Group C account with a 3-0 victory at East End Park courtesy of Michael Moffat’s double either side of Andy Geggan’s strike with the visitors having Ricky Little sent off late on.
Lewis Vaughan’s 87th-minute penalty spared Raith’s blushes as they left it late to claim a 2-1 win over Montrose.
Vaughan struck at the death to win it after Michael Bolochoweckyj had cancelled out Chris Johnson’s 12th-minute opener.
However, Group D rivals Alloa found the going far more straightforward as they eased to a 4-0 victory over Cove Rangers with goals from Greig Spence, Andy Graham, Jordan Kirkpatrick and Isaac Layne.
Queen of the South kept up their faultless start to the competition with a 2-0 home victory over Airdrieonians with Derek Lyle’s first-half double doing the damage, while Group E counterparts Queen’s Park won by the same score at Stenhousemuir, thanks to efforts from Sean Burns and Conor McVey.
Frank McKeown and Kyle Turner both struck in injury time as Stranraer came from behind to beat East Stirling in Group F with Craig Malcolm having earlier equalised following Jamie Glasgow’s 60th-minute strike.
Thomas O’Ware fired Morton to a 1-0 Group H victory over Clyde with 13 minutes remaining, but Albion Rovers had to settle for two points from a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win at Berwick following a 0-0 stalemate.
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