St Mirren have seen their three-game winning streak ended by Rangers after two goals in five minutes turned the game on its head following Connor Ronan’s stunning 30-yard strike to open the scoring.
The Buddies continued with the same XI that has served Goodwin so well in recent weeks while the visitors made one change from the midweek win over Brondby as Jon McLaughlin replaced Allan McGregor in goal.
With only four minutes on the clock, Ronan lashed home a stunning opener from distance, picking up the ball near halfway before driving forward then sticking it right into the top corner to silence the sizeable travelling support.
WHAT. A. GOAL. 💥
Take a bow Connor Ronan! 👏
St Mirren 1-0 Rangers
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— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 24, 2021
The goal clearly gave confidence to a St Mirren side that weren’t exactly short of it having won their previous three games, moving the ball around quickly and causing problems for the Rangers midfield and defence.
St Mirren’s pairing of Connor Ronan and Jamie McGrath as number 10s behind Eamonn Brophy seemed to really get the best out of all three in the opening stages as the hosts harried and hassled Rangers, continually pressing the Gers when in possession and forcing mistake after mistake from Steven Gerrard’s side.
James Tavernier was first to go into the referee’s book, earning a yellow card for cleaning out Scott Tanser near the halfway line as the Buddies broke quickly just before the 20th minute.
It took almost 25 minutes for Rangers to muster their first real attempt on goal, Connor Goldson header pulling a save out of ex-Gers keeper Jak Alnwick without ever really threatening – having a near carbon-copy saved a few minutes later.
That started a flurry of chances for the visitors, Hagi next to try his luck, forcing an excellent save from Alnwick that touched the Romanian’s effort just around the far post at the expense of a corner.
Rangers were really starting to put St Mirren under pressure as they looked to grab an equaliser before the break but Goodwin’s side were holding out well, despite the visitors seeing the majority of the ball as the opening 45 wound down.
With five minutes until the break, Rangers were handed the chance to pull level when Steven McLean pointed to the spot after Hagi was brought down by Alan Power, Roofe stepping up to fire home and breathe new life into the game just before halftime.
St Mirren must have been wondering what happened two minutes later when Alfredo Morelos fired Rangers into the lead for the first time in the game heading home James Tavernier’s cross from close range and grab his 100th goal for the Ibrox side.
Things continued to get worse for the Buddies, Ethan Erahon limping off to be replaced by Ryan Flynn in injury-time to compound the agony for Jim Goodwin’s side trudged off at the break.
In the space of two minutes the game is turned on its head!
Alfredo Morelos puts Rangers in front just moments after Kemar Roofe equalised with a penalty 🎯
St Mirren 1-2 Rangers
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— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) October 24, 2021
There was another enforced change for St Mirren at the break, Scott Tanser coming off to be replaced by Richard Tait for the second 45 as the Buddies looked to get back into the game and extend their unbeaten run.
It was Rangers who took control of the early stages of the second 45, Alnwick having to be alert to deal with James Tavernier’s effort from a Borna Barisic cross after 52 minutes.
The Buddies weren’t beaten though and tried to carve out chances of their own as Ronan and McGrath tried to pull the strings for the hosts and get back on level terms – however they were finding it hard to break down the Gers’ defence and trouble McLaughlin.
Going into the final 30 minutes, there was still everything to play for though and, despite Rangers peppering Alnwick’s goal with shots, the Saints stars tried their best to make things difficult for the champions.
It should have been 3-1 with 15 minutes left when Rangers sub Fashion Sakala made an absolute mess of going for a header and wasted the chance to put the result to bed and lift the anxiety amongst the visiting support.
There was another injury blow for the home side in the final minutes, Jamie McGrath being stretchered off with an apparent back injury, leading to fears the Irishman could be set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and leaving St Mirren to see out the closing part of the game with only ten men.
The lengthy delay took any final sting out of the game as Rangers saw out the final minutes to take the three points but Jim Goodwin’s side can be relatively happy with their performance – despite losing for the first time in a while.
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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