By Euan Wood
Rangers have extended their eight-game unbeaten league run with a commanding 1-2 victory over a spirited St Mirren side at SMISA Stadium this afternoon, leaving Steven Gerrard’s side three points clear of second-placed Hearts in the Premiership table.
Connor Ronan would fire the hosts in front early on with a stunning strike from distance before Kemar Roofe levelled from the penalty spot. Alfredo Morelos’ close-range header would put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half-time and seal all three points for the champions.
The hosts would deservedly break the deadlock in the opening stages of the first half whn John Lundstram’s mistimed clearance was easily intercepted by Ronan who drove towards goal with pace before unleashing a spectacular curling effort past Mclaughlin into the top right corner.
The Saints would continue to control the opening period of the game and would come close to doubling their lead 10 minutes later; a quick counter-attack released Eamonn Brophy down the right, before the striker skilfully cut inside and fired towards goal, but the St Mirren talisman lost his footing on the wet surface and Mclaughlin reacted quickly to make a comfortable stop.
Rangers would come close to the equaliser on the half-hour mark, Steven Davis’ floated corner was superbly met by Connor Goldson, but the defender’s powerful headed effort was easily gathered by Jak Alnwick.
Rangers would again come close to a response minutes later when Davis’ perfectly timed through ball sliced through the St Mirren defence leaving Ianis Hagi through on goal, but the midfielders low driven effort whistled inches wide the post.
The visitors would be awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Hagi was impeded in the box following a clever piece of skill. Roofe stepped up and confidently placed his effort past Alnwick into the bottom right corner to bring Rangers level.
Motivated by the equaliser, Steven Gerrard’s side would add a second minutes later. James Tavernier’s whipped-in cross found Morelos unmarked in the box, and the striker comfortably headed home from close range to earn his 100th goal for the club.
Here are the three things we learned as Rangers respond to an early struggle with a commanding second half performance in Paisley.
Positives to take
Jim Goodwin’s St Mirren side will have plenty of positives to take from today’s game. However, Goodwin will be left feeling frustrated that his side were unable to take anything away after looking threatening in the first half. The hosts were deservedly ahead in the early stages and were unfortunate not to extend their advantage having several opportunities on goal. The penalty was a key turning point in the game, and it gave Rangers a foundation to build on whilst the hosts struggled to respond in the second half.
Eight games unbeaten
Steven Gerrard will be delighted with his sides quick response in the latter stages of the first half after going behind. Rangers are now unbeaten in their last eight league fixtures with the Ibrox side scoring 14 times whilst conceding seven. Despite looking poor in the first half, Rangers did look aggressive when in control and posed a considerable threat to St Mirren for a vast period of the game.
Hitting the mark
Rangers talisman Alfredo Morelos’ late first-half winner sees the striker finally hit the impeccable record of 100 league goals for Rangers. Clever movement in the box to beat his marker left Morelos in acres of space to comfortably nod home Tavernier’s cross from close range.
St Mirren: Alnwick, Fraser, Shaughnessy, McCarthy, Millar, Power, Erhahon, Tanser, McGrath, Ronan, Brophy.
Substitutes: Lyness, Tait, Dunne, Flynn, McAllister, Dennis, Main.
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic, Lundstram, Davis, Aribo, Hagi, Roofe, Morelos.
Substitutes: McCrorie, Bassey, Patterson, Kamara, Bacuna, Sakala, Arfield.
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