Rangers up and running with win over St Mirren

Ten-man Rangers avoided a repeat of their Pittodrie slip-up as they eased to a 2-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox.

For the second week running Steven Gerrard’s men ended the game a man light after Ross McCrorie received a straight red card midway through the first half.

But by that point the Light Blues were already two goals to the good thanks to strikes from Alfredo Morelos and stand-in captain Connor Goldson.

They surrendered victory in stoppage time of their opening-day clash at Aberdeen but there was never any danger of that happening this time as Alan Stubbs’ Buddies failed to make the most of their numerical advantage.

They did come close when Danny Mullen clipped the crossbar just before half-time but Stubbs’ frustration will match that of his old Merseyside derby foe Gerrard, who will feel aggrieved that another promising display was ruined by a sending off.

The Ibrox boss rested skipper James Tavernier and midfielder Scott Arfield as new signing Borna Barisic was handed his first start, while the Buddies had Birmingham loanee Nicolai Brock-Madsen in for his debut.

Morelos was freed to play after his Dons dismissal was overturned on appeal and he took out his frustration on the Buddies with the 14th-minute opener as he carried out Gerrard’s instruction to press the visitors at every opportunity.

The plan paid off as he slid in on Jack Baird to strip the centre-back of the ball. Ryan Kent picked up possession and immediately played in his Colombian colleague, who bounced back onto his feet before calmly steering the ball past Craig Samson.

Barisic then gave a glimpse of his quality as he teed up the second in the 24th minute, swinging in a perfect free-kick delivery from deep on the right for Goldson to nod home.

Gers were threatening to run away with the points, but then came another brush with officialdom after 31 minutes to make the task a little tougher.

But unlike last week’s incident with Morelos, Gers had no complaints. Jamie Murphy gifted possession in midfield to Stephen McGinn and the Saints captain rolled the ball in behind the Gers defence, forcing McCrorie to drag down Brock-Madsen before the Dane could fire the Paisley men level.

Borna Barisic (right) provided an assist on his Rangers debut
Borna Barisic provided an assist on his Rangers debut (Graham Stuart/PA)

Referee Don Robertson immediately reached for the red card but there was no further punishment as Hayden Coulson fired the resulting free-kick into the wall.

Even a man light, Gers almost grabbed a third when Goldson flicked a header against the far post from a Kent corner, while the woodwork also denied Saints just before half-time as Mullen jinked inside before sweeping a sweet effort off the top of the bar.

Saints were able to grab a foothold after the break but creating openings was another matter. Allan McGregor made a comfortable save from Mullen before Rangers came close once more as Morelos drove a shot against Samson’s legs.

The Paisley number one was required again when Ovie Ejaria robbed McGinn inside the Saints box, while substitute Andy Halliday did well to deny St Mirren’s Cammy Smith late on.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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