By Harry Sykes
Dougie Imrie has claimed that Joe Garner’s horror tackle on him in Rangers’ Scottish Cup demolition of Hamilton belonged in a UFC cage fight.
The veteran winger, 33, is convinced that the Ibrox striker should have been sent off on Saturday afternoon for what he described as a “leg-breaker”.
Garner scored a second-half hat-trick as Rangers thrashed top-tier rivals Hamilton 6-0 to secure a Scottish Cup semi-final spot.
“Should Garner be on the park for his hat-trick? In my opinion, no. I don’t know if we are in the UFC,” said Imrie, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“Are we in the UFC? It’s disappointing.
“You either get it or you don’t. It was nearly a leg breaker as he caught me quite high. If that was me or Darian MacKinnon, then we’re off the park.
“Garner went on to score a hat-trick. If he was sent off then he doesn’t score three goals – and who’s to say we can’t get something out of the game if they’re down to 10 men?”
The Rangers striker was introduced as half-time replacement for fellow front man Kenny Miller and responded with three second-half goals.
Former Preston forward Garner was in the thick of the action in the second period, not only with his goals and his challenge on Imrie but he also spent 10 minutes off the pitch after a clash of heads with a visiting defender.
Nonetheless, Garner shook off the blow to return to the action and score two more goals to ensure Rangers progressed beyond the quarter-final stage of the cup competition.
Further goals from Martyn Waghorn, Jon Toral and Clint Hill helped the Ibrox giants complete a comfortable victory.
Garner has had a difficult campaign at Rangers since his £1.8million move from the English Championship last summer.
He has scored seven goals in 27 appearances but only four of those have come in league fixtures and he has been unable to nail down a regular starting role.
Nevertheless, supporters are appreciative of the work-rate and effort of the 28-year-old and will hope he can replicate his cup form in next weekend’s league showdown against bitter rivals Celtic.