JOE GARNER scored a second-half hat-trick as Rangers stormed into the Scottish Cup semi-finals with a 6-0 victory over Hamilton at Ibrox this afternoon.
But the English striker should have seen red in the 55th minute for a crazy, reckless swipe at Dougie Imrie.
Unbelievably blundering referee John Beaton issued a yellow card and, remarkably, Garner remained on the field to complete his trio.
The match official also missed a 14th-minute blatant handball incident outside his box by home keeper Wes Foderingham that could have resulted in a straight red for the Rangers keeper.
The shotstopper was at least a yard outside the penalty area as he caught the ball with Accies striker Rakish Bingham racing through.
He denied his opponent a goalscoring opportunity and should have been dismissed.
in the 33rd minute, Martyn Waghorn set the Gers on their way to a place in the last four by notching his 14th goal of the season from the penalty spot. Once again the ref got this one completely wrong.
Substitute Garner netted the second two minutes after the interval and was fortunate to be still on the field to complete his hat-trick with efforts in the 88th and 90th minutes.
Jon Toral (77) and Clint Hill (82) also netted for Rangers, who return to Hampden Park for the second successive season after their biggest win of the campaign.
Despite benefiting from three really awful refereeing decisions, Rangers will take some confidence from this result as they begin to think about next Sunday’s daunting trip across the city to face Champions Celtic.
For Hamilton, it is a day to forget as quickly as possible. They used up their fair share of lucky against Aberdeen earlier in the week and those 3 points won against all the odds are infinitely more important that a trip to Hampden in the Scottish Cup.