Rangers were rampant at Ibrox as they thrashed Ross County 4-2 to restore the four-point gap at the top of the Premiership and leave County rooted to the foot of the table.
The hosts made five changes from their midweek Europa League tie while Ross County made one change from the side that faced Dundee ten days ago with Jack Burroughs coming into the starting XI in place of Jordan White.
An impeccably observed minute of silence preceded the game as both clubs marked Remembrance Sunday before both sets of players were applauded as they took the knee ahead of referee David Munro getting the game underway.
Lest We Forget pic.twitter.com/rM1HoYzSQS
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) November 7, 2021
After a bright start from Rangers, Ross County stunned Ibrox just five minutes in when they broke quickly and slotted home through Joseph Hungbo.
The Rangers defence were appealing for the assistant to flag for offside but nothing came and the Watford loanee showed great composure to fire beyond Allan McGregor and give the Staggies the lead.
Hungbo’s goal made it the fourth Premiership game in a row Rangers had conceded within the opening 15 minutes, giving County a platform to build off as they looked to make it back-to-back wins and close in on Dundee in eleventh.
As the hosts started to go up through the gears in search of an equaliser, Alex Iacovitti picked up an early booking when he cleaned out Ryan Kent as the Gers winger drove at goal, conceding a free-kick in a dangerous position – however Ianis Hagi only managed to crash it against the wall.
County hung on to their lead for all of 13 minutes before Joe Aribo beat his man at the front post and headed home James Tavernier’s corner to ease the tension over Ibrox and get the hosts back onto a level footing.
Rangers’ dominance up that point had been clear, Steven Gerrard’s side having an incredible 93% possession in the opening 18 minutes – despite being behind for most of them.
The pressure on the Staggies defence didn’t ease up after conceding the equaliser, Malky Mackay’s side almost exclusively camped in and around their own 18-yard box and Rangers pushed forward time and again trying to get themselves in front.
Rangers’ dominance eventually paid off when Ryan Kent, making his first league start following six weeks on the sidelines, picked the ball up on the left before cutting inside and lashing home a stunning effort which Maynard-Brewer had absolutely no chance of keeping out.
That County had managed to keep it level until the 30th minute was a surprise in itself as the visitors were simply chasing shadows in the opening half an hour and Mackay and his players will have been desperate to get to the break without any more damage.
Other than the odd foray over the halfway line, Ross County showed little to suggest there was any way back into the game for them, sitting deep and allowing Rangers to dominate the tempo and move the ball around with ease.
When referee David Munro did bring the opening 45 to an end, County breathed a massive sigh of relief at the prospect of a fifteen-minute breather – but there was still plenty more pain to come.
HT | RAN 2-1 ROS
The hosts lead at the break pic.twitter.com/BkrGnKfhsX
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) November 7, 2021
While it was the visitors who scored early in the first half, it was Rangers who hit the net within a few minutes of the restart, Juninho Bacuno grabbing his first goal for the Light Blues after a well-worked move.
With that, it very much became about damage limitation for the Staggies, with Rangers looking hungry to add more as Gerrard’s fringe players grabbed their chance in the limelight.
Rangers made it 4-1 on the hour mark, Alex Iacovitti diverting a James Tavernier cross beyond Maynard-Brewer and into the net, and making the scoreline look as comfortable as Rangers’ performance merited.
County grabbed a late consolation three minutes from the end, Jordan White punishing some slack defending but it was too little too late from the Staggies as they were left licking their wounds.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Bassey, Lundstram, Bacuna, Aribo, Hagi, Kent, Fashion Jr.
Substitutes: McLaughlin, Patterson, Jack, Kamara, Arfield, Roofe, Morelos
Ross County: Maynard-Brewer, Randall, Baldwin, H. Paton, Callachan, Iacovitti, Charles-Cook, Burroughs, Clarke, Tillson, Hungbo
Substitutes: Laidlaw, Vokins, Spittal, D. Samuel, Robertson, Watson, White
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