Alfredo Morelos scored the second goal of the Rangers
Rangers maintained their 16-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership and easily avoided another League Cup defeat at St Mirren.
Two weeks earlier, the home side seemed to have won against Steven Gerrard.
But the first half of the goals from Kemar Roofe and Alfredo Morelos were enough to send the Rangers to Saturday’s Old Firm derby after 13 consecutive league wins.
The best chance for St. Mirren came from Jonathan Obika just before the first goal.
Rangers made their best division one debut since 1928 after losing the League Cup with four straight victories. They are now preparing to defend champions Celtic.
Despite the end of the home front, St. John’s is still in the game. Mirren stayed in the seventh.
Considering the result of this League Cup and the fact that St Mirren made his best league debut since 1988, this will certainly be a big test for the Rangers.
It’s not surprising that the home coach Jim Goodwin returned to a more defensive starting line-up that had secured him a place in the semifinals. Jamie McGrath, who scored both goals that night, was the first to create danger when the midfielder outsmarted a lazy Stephen Davies and fired a low shot straight at goaltender Allan McGregor.
St Mirren seemed just as confident as the Rangers, as two out of three returning players gave the visitors another reason to fear.
McGregor, who makes his 400th appearance in front of the Ibrox club, couldn’t prevent Dylan Connolly’s low shot, while Obika could only hit the crossbar at close range.
But St Mirren’s early efforts were undone when Janis Hagy encountered a mix-up between the two sides and Rufe played, who shot goalkeeper Jack Alnwick before being deflected by the other Cup-keeper, Conor McCarthy.
The striker’s 10th goal in 14 games was soon followed by Morelos’ first goal in nine games when the Colombian international sent in a foul at Joe Shaughnessy and slipped past former Rangers goalkeeper Alnwick.
St Mirren got better after the break, but it was the Rangers who almost added another goal, but Alnwick saved Morelos and the visitors took care of the rest of the match, saving their energy for the even bigger challenge ahead.
Man of the race – Jonathan Obika
Jonathan Obika (right) missed St Mirren’s best chance, but was a constant threat to the Rangers for the second game in a row.
What have we learned?
Lightning didn’t strike twice against St. Mirren – a rarity for provincial teams against the two halves of the Old Firm – but they were able to bounce back from their leadership qualities.
Goodwin has taken his place in the tactical line-up and hopes that this is just one of a series of six consecutive defeats that ended in October, around the same time that Covid broke through.
Rangers, who have failed to take advantage of their good pre-season performance in recent weeks, will have to show team spirit and tenacity if they want to win against Celtic.
The victory was also achieved with winger Ryan Kent on the bench and that, combined with the return of Morelos to the starting eleven, Gerrard presents with some important decisions on Saturday.
What they said
Jim Goodwin, headmaster of St Mirren’s: We always knew how difficult it would be and I don’t think we did enough to win the game, but I thought we had the game under control for a long time without disturbing the Rangers. We gave a few goals at low cost – a distraction and a mistake – but the players gave everything and I can’t blame them.
Steven Gerrard, director of Rangers, talks on the website of his club: We asked the players to dominate the pitch and see if we could keep a clean slate, and we did. Apart from the possession we had no problems, except for a few nervous moments, but in general we did very well. All in all we are happy and we settle in a nice place for the weekend.
What’s the next step?
Rangers go to a possible top-of-the-table collision with Celtic at home on Saturday (12.30 CET) before St Mirren travels to Kilmarnock, who are two points behind them in the standings (15.00 CET).
- 4Reservation of the ofaughnessy in 71Minutes
- 21 ConnollySubstitution of McAllister on the 82nd minute.
- 17McGrathReplaced by Dennisin 77’minutes
- 25ErhahonSubstitutedforMacPhersonat 85’min
- 3MasonSubstituteforDurmusat 77’minutes
- 9ObikaReserved for 53Minutes
- 19 Morias
- 2TavernierReplacement by Balogunat 89 min.
- 6 Goldson.
- 7HajiReplaced by Zunguat 80’minutes
- 20 Morelos
- 25RoofeSubstitution of Kentin at the 74th minute
- 16 Patterson
- 26 Balogun
- Game over, St Mirren 0, Rangers 2.
- End of the second half, St Mirren 0, Rangers 2.
- Allan McGregor (Rangers) hits a free kick in the other half.
- Christian Dennis (St. Mirren) is punished after he has committed an offence.
- Corner, St Mirren’s. Assigned by Leon Balogun.
- Attempt blocked. Christian Dennis (St. Mirren) shoots with his left foot in the middle of the box.
- Attempt blocked. Christian Dennis (St. Mirren)’s right shot from the center of the area is blocked.
- Corner, St Mirren’s. Gave up to Bongani Zung.
- Replacement, Rangers. Léon Balogun replaces James Tavernier.
- The attempt failed. Cameron McPherson’s right shot from St Mirren is high and wide to the right of the penalty area. Sponsored by Jonathan Obiki.
- Attempt blocked. Bongani Zungu (Rangers) rattles the ball with his right foot and his shot is blocked by the edge of the penalty area. Sponsored by Alfredo Morelos.
- Replacement : St. John’s Mirren. Cameron McPherson replaces Ethan Erhon.
- Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) gets a free kick in the opposite half.
- Jake Doyle-Hayes (St. Mirren) is punished after committing an offence.
- Offside, Rangers. Steven Davis plays a forward pass, but the referee sees James Tavernier offside.
- Handball from Kyle McAllister (St. Mirren).
- Replacement : St. John’s Mirren. Kyle McAllister replaces Dylan Connolly.
- Corner, St Mirren’s. Prepared by Borna Barisic.
- Replacement, Rangers. Bongani Zungu takes over from Ianis Hagi.
- Replacement : St. John’s Mirren. Ilkay Durmus is replacing Brandon Mason.
The player of the game
- Team number 17PlaynameMcGrath
- Team number 7PseudoDoyle-Hayes
- Team number 5PseudoMcCarthy
- Team number9Player nameObic
- Team number 21PlaynameConnolly
- Squad number2Player’s nameTaith
- Team number3 Player nameMason
- Team number25 Player name Erhon
- Team number 22Player nameFrazier
- Team number 1PlaymenameAlnwick
- Name of the player on team number 4Shaughnessy
- Team number20 Name of playerNnis
- Team number11PseudoDurmus
- Team number14 Player nameMacPherson
- Team number 10PseudoMcAllister
- Team number 25Player nameRoofe
- Team number20 Player nameMorelos
- Team number7Player nameHagi
- Team number18Player nameCamara
- Team number17Player nameAribo
- Team number 10PlaynameDavis
- Team number2Player’s nameTavernier
- Team number31Player nameBarisic
- Team number 1PlaymenameMcGregor
- Squadron number6Goldson player name
- Team number 5PseudoHelanger
- Team number14 Name of playerKnow
- Team number 15Zungu player name
- Team number 26PseudoBalogun
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