ST MIRREN twice came from behind but were left with nothing to show for their efforts at Ibrox as Rangers ran out comfortable 5-2 winners.

Mark O’Hara pulled the visitors level after Todd Cantwell’s opener and then cancelled out a Fashion Sakala strike. But Alfredo Morelos netted twice in quick succession before substitute Scott Arfield completed the scoring for Michael Beale’s side.

An early penalty miss from James Tavernier didn’t matter for Rangers as they now turn their attentions to the trip to Aberdeen ahead of their Scottish Cup showdown with Celtic.


This wasn’t how many would have expected the afternoon to unfold. The final result of a home win was no surprise, but the way in which Rangers got over the line could not have been predicted before a ball was kicked.

Rangers should have set themselves on the road to victory when Tavernier stepped up from 12 yards. Alex Gogic was penalised for a trip on Nicolas Raskin and Trevor Carson bailed him out as he made a terrific save to parry away Tavernier’s penalty.

The Ibrox captain may not have added to his goal tally but he did get an assist for the opener as his cross was flicked home by Cantwell. Even that wasn’t the foundation that Rangers needed.

O’Hara netted either side of a Sakala header as he beat Carson from distance with a well-placed nod from a free-kick. It took until the closing stages for Rangers to win it.

The first effort from Morelos saw him convert from close range after Carson saved a Cantwell header. The second, after a VAR check, was a clinical strike from the edge of the area.

Rangers were worth their win, although the strike from Arfield did add a shine to the scoreline that Stephen Robinson will feel was harsh on St Mirren.


The side was as expected, and perhaps as feared for some supporters. Beale was once again limited in terms of his options due to injuries, but a couple of those on the bench would have been hoping that this would have been their afternoon to get a chance to impress.

Beale confirmed on Friday that Ryan Jack and Ryan Kent had joined Connor Goldson, Ridvan Yilmaz, Scott Wright and Antonio Colak on the crocked list. Their places went to John Lundstram and Sakala as two changes were made from the side that lost at Parkhead.

Arfield had to settle for a place on the bench once again, as did Leon King, Ianis Hagi and Rabbi Matondo. There was no spot at all for Robby McCrorie and that was the biggest surprise when the squad list was confirmed at Ibrox.

With Allan McGregor seemingly heading for retirement and Jon McLaughlin’s future uncertain, this was surely the ideal chance to give McCrorie a game and let him stake his claim to be in the thinking for next season? The only action the keeper saw was helping out during the warm-up.

Matondo got half an hour in his first minutes since December and Arfield, Hagi and Glen Kamara got the final 15 minutes. An assist for Matondo and typical Arfield effort were two positives for Beale to take.


There are now just six games to go in the Premiership. For many, the final whistle of the league campaign cannot come quickly enough at Ibrox.

The trip to Pittodrie next weekend carries its own significance and the five post-split matches must, of course, be won by Rangers. The Old Firm clash here takes care of itself and will have an added dimension if Beale’s side lose at Hampden in a fortnight.

That importance of that semi-final cannot be understated for Beale. After three derbies without a win, he needs a result against Celtic and he needs to land the silverware to give him something to take from his first months as manager.

This was a cracking afternoon for a game as the sun shone over Ibrox and it turned into an entertaining affair, even if it was never likely to be a raucous atmosphere given the circumstances Rangers find themselves in.

Beale must find a way to keep the standards high and maintain an intensity in the closing weeks of the campaign. The Old Firm fixtures, and the cup final if it comes, will be the simplest tasks in that regard but the remaining Premiership matches must not be wished away and disregarded.

This wasn’t a classic performance but it was still another merited victory. All Rangers can do now is beat what is in front of them in the closing weeks of the term.


Robinson must have been fearing the worst when Tavernier stepped up and looked to give Rangers the lead just four minutes in. Come the break, he had to be delighted with his side.

The visitors found themselves on the back foot for periods of the first half, but they were not camped in and defending for their lives like other teams have been here this term. When Rangers didn’t extend their lead, they were always in danger of losing it.

That should have happened half an hour in. Ben Davies was caught dithering in possession once again and Greg Kiltie pounced. A timely interception from Lundstram denied Curtis Main a crack at goal.

When O’Hara tried his luck 15 minutes later, he produced a stunning finished. Rangers were once again complicit as they failed to clear their lines, but that takes nothing away from a sweet strike as O’Hara took the ball on his chest rifled it beyond McGregor to give the sizeable away support something to cheer.

His second wasn’t quite as spectacular but it was still an accomplished finish. The ball broke to him at the edge of the area and a low drive found the bottom left corner.

At that stage, Robinson would have been daring to dream of a shock result. Ultimately, he would have left Ibrox with frustrations rather than a point after a late collapse condemned St Mirren to a heavy defeat.


The Premiership title race may be done and dusted but there is still plenty of intrigue below the Old Firm. Third place has still to be decided, the top six will be determined next weekend and the fight to avoid the drop could well go down to the wire this term.

Hibernian landed the first blow in the race to finish in the top half with their Edinburgh derby win earlier in the afternoon as Hearts remained five points adrift of Aberdeen. It was a result that ruled Motherwell out of the running and it will now be between the Saints, Livingston and Hibs on Matchday 33 of the Premiership.

St Mirren are the only ones with home advantage as they host Kilmarnock. Livingston and Hibernian are on the road at Dundee United and St Johnstone respectively.

The Buddies remain in the driving seat. This was a sore afternoon, but it shouldn’t be one that derails their ambitions as they bid to cap an encouraging campaign with a top six berth.