Kris Boyd opened - and finished - the scoring at Hampden
Kris Boyd emerged from the shadows to become Rangers' hero as they ended gutsy Queen of the South's hopes of winning their first Scottish Cup final.
Boyd fired home a superb free-kick and DaMarcus Beasley slotted in a second as Rangers eased ahead by half-time.
However, the biggest shock in cup final history looked on the cards when Stevie Tosh forced the ball home and Jim Thomson headed in an equaliser.
But Boyd, so often left on the bench this season, rose to head the winner.
And Rangers, playing their 68th game of an arduous season, limped home to ensure their 32nd Scottish Cup final triumph - their first in five years.
Rangers manager Walter Smith had made four changes in an attempt to freshen up a side that were playing their fourth game in eight days.
Boyd, Beasley, Sasa Papac and Lee McCulloch came in for Christian Dailly, Steven Davis, Daniel Cousin and Charlie Adam.
Queens were reduced to 10 men within minutes when midfielder Ryan McCann had to go off for a couple of stitches in a head wound.
But he quickly returned as the Dumfries outfit, playing their first competitive match in four weeks after finishing fourth in the First Division, matched their more illustrious rivals for endevour and possession in the early stages.
Carlos Cuellar, who has been Scotland's outstanding player this season, exemplified the tired legs among the Rangers players with a couple of loose passes.
But the Glasgow side - who won the CIS Cup earlier in the season - steadied themselves and ought to have taken the lead with the first clear sight of goal after 24 minutes.
Boyd broke clear and clipped a neat ball into the path of Beasley, who curled his shot into the wrong side of the netting behind the post from the edge of the penalty box.
The same two combined again moments later, with the unmarked Boyd squandering a great opportunity by sending a diving header a few feet over from 10 yards.
However, he made no mistake and after 33 minutes, after Beasley won a foul following a Tosh challenge.
Barry Ferguson teed it up for Boyd to bullet his drive into the top corner from 22 yards and Rangers' steps visibly quickened.
But, despite their growing stranglehold on possession, Tosh broke through only for the diving Neil Alexander to save at the veteran midfielder's feet.
There were shouts for a penalty when Steven Whittaker blocked the path of Sean O'Connor.
But it was a collision between Queens players McCann and Jim Thomson inside the other box that enabled Rangers to stretch their lead.
It allowed Cuellar's header to the back post to fall for Beasley, whose side-footed effort from 12 yards slipped under goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.
It looked like there would be no way back for Queens, but two goals within eight minutes after the break turned a thrilling game on its head.
Tosh pulled Queens back into the game
O'Connor slipped clear of Cuellar in the box and the striker's drive into the six-yard box was punched home off the pelvis of Tosh.
A Boyd header was well held by MacDonald before Queens broke up the other end, where Thomson rose to head home a Bob Harris free-kick from 10 yards.
Rangers were looking nervous again and Cuellar's last-ditch tackle denied O'Connor at the front post.
But Boyd came to the rescue, heading home in a crowded penalty box from a Beasley corner after 72 minutes.
That appeared to knock the wind out of Queens' sails and Rangers went on to a victory that will go some way to making up for the disappointment of missing out on the Scottish Premier League title less than 48 hours earlier and defeat in the Uefa Cup final.
Queen of the South: MacDonald, McCann (Robertson 86), Thomson, Aitken, Harris, McQuilken (Stewart 76), MacFarlane, Tosh, Burns, Dobbie (O'Neill 82), O'Connor. Subs Not Used: Grindlay, Paton.
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