Rangers 3-0 St Mirren: Hosts move within a point of title



Alfredo Morelos netted from a tight angle to double Rangers' lead
Alfredo Morelos netted from a tight angle to double Rangers’ lead

Rangers swept aside St Mirren to move within a point of the Scottish Premiership title – and will be crowned champions if Celtic fail to win at Dundee United on Sunday.

Alfredo Morelos’ acute finish added to Ryan Kent’s thumping strike as two goals in two minutes made the result a formality.

Ianis Hagi netted a minute after the break as Rangers – with manager Steven Gerrard serving a one-match ban in the stands – maintained their perfect home record with a 16th win.

Defeat dented St Mirren’s top-six hopes but they have a two-point lead over St Johnstone and their fate in their own hands with one pre-split fixture left.

Rangers players and some staff rushed to the corner of the stadium at full-time to acknowledge their supporters, who had flouted coronavirus lockdown restrictions by gathering outside hours before kick-off.

As a measure of how far Rangers have come since their financial implosion, eight years ago this weekend they were being turned over 2-1 at home by part-time Annan Athletic in the bottom tier.

Their trek back to the pinnacle of Scottish football has been long and arduous, but that will make the club’s first top-flight in 10 years all the sweeter for supporters.

Flares and fireworks filled the sky as a a fervent atmosphere of celebration greeted Gerrard and the players on their way into Ibrox.

The hosts then crackled with intensity from the outset with a sparkling performance that showed no hint of nerves on a potentially decisive weekend.

St Mirren had already achieved what no other side in domestic or European competition have managed this season – a win over Rangers – but their hopes of that repeating that shock League Cup success were quickly extinguished.

Kent made the 14th-minute breakthrough when he collected a Connor Goldson pass 25 yards out, feigned a right-foot shot to bamboozle Jake Doyle-Hayes before arrowing the ball into the corner of the net with his left.

Before Jim Goodwin’s men had time to compose themselves, their deficit was doubled as Glen Kamara played in Morelos down the right-hand side of the box. The angle was tight but the Colombian striker’s finish was clinical as it kissed the far post on its way in.

St Mirren’s attempted response saw Dylan Connolly dispossess Steven Davis and bear down on goal before dragging wide.

But that was rare respite from Rangers pressure and Connor Goldson headed inches wide after Borna Barisic had lasered a free-kick on to the centre-back’s forehead.

The third soon followed after the restart though as Kent bounded down the left and his cutback found Hagi at the back post to pick his spot.

St Mirren’s main concern now was preventing further damage to their goal difference, but they almost pulled one back as substitute Jon Obika’s flick from six yards out was clawed away from the top corner by Allan McGregor.

The visitors prevented further damage, with goalkeeper Jak Alnwick sticking out a leg to slice a Kent drive over his own bar, then superbly foiling Jermain Defoe from close range.

Rangers now turn their attention to Tannadice tomorrow, while St Mirren substitute Dylan Reid made history as he came off the bench at the death to become the Paisley club’s youngest ever debutant at 16 years and six days.

Man of the match – Ryan Kent

A goal and assist in another stand-out show from the winger who has come of age as a Rangers player this season
A goal and assist in another stand-out show from the winger who has come of age as a Rangers player this season

What’s next?

Rangers will be glued to the TV on Sunday hoping for a Celtic slip-up at Tannadice. That result will determine whether the Ibrox men are already champions when they return to action in the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on Sunday, 21 March (12:00 GMT).

St Mirren play their final pre-split fixture the previous day with a trip to second-bottom Hamilton Academical (15:00).

More to follow.

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Rangers

  1. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor

  2. Squad number16Player namePatterson

  3. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  4. Squad number5Player nameHelander

  5. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  6. Squad number18Player nameKamara

  7. Squad number10Player nameDavis

  8. Squad number17Player nameAribo

  9. Squad number7Player nameHagi

  10. Squad number20Player nameMorelos

  11. Squad number14Player nameKent

  1. Squad number9Player nameDefoe

  2. Squad number23Player nameWright

  3. Squad number24Player nameStewart

  4. Squad number26Player nameBalogun

  5. Squad number37Player nameArfield

St Mirren

  1. Squad number1Player nameAlnwick

  2. Squad number22Player nameFraser

  3. Squad number5Player nameMcCarthy

  4. Squad number4Player nameShaughnessy

  5. Squad number2Player nameTait

  6. Squad number7Player nameDoyle-Hayes

  7. Squad number25Player nameErhahon

  8. Squad number21Player nameConnolly

  9. Squad number17Player nameMcGrath

  10. Squad number11Player nameDurmus

  11. Squad number45Player nameQuaner

  1. Squad number8Player nameFlynn

  2. Squad number9Player nameObika

  3. Squad number10Player nameMcAllister

  4. Squad number14Player nameMacPherson

  5. Squad number19Player nameReid

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 16Patterson
  • 6Goldson
  • 5HelanderSubstituted forBalogunat 58′minutes
  • 31Barisic
  • 18Kamara
  • 10DavisSubstituted forArfieldat 59′minutes
  • 17Aribo
  • 7HagiBooked at 71minsSubstituted forWrightat 74′minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forDefoeat 73′minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forStewartat 81′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bassey
  • 4Simpson
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Itten
  • 23Wright
  • 24Stewart
  • 26Balogun
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield

St Mirren

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Alnwick
  • 22Fraser
  • 5McCarthy
  • 4ShaughnessyBooked at 73mins
  • 2Tait
  • 7Doyle-Hayes
  • 25ErhahonSubstituted forReidat 88′minutes
  • 21ConnollySubstituted forMacPhersonat 71′minutes
  • 17McGrathBooked at 59minsSubstituted forFlynnat 71′minutes
  • 11DurmusSubstituted forMcAllisterat 55′minutes
  • 45QuanerSubstituted forObikaat 55′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Flynn
  • 9Obika
  • 10McAllister
  • 14MacPherson
  • 19Reid
  • 23Erwin
  • 26Lyness
  • 30Henderson
  • 33Jamieson

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