Three Goals & Three Points For Rangers

RANGERS made it two wins from two in the Scottish Premiership with a very routine win over St Mirren at Ibrox this afternoon.

Conor McCarthy’s own-goal was all Gers had to show from a blistering first-half showing before Alfredo Morelos netted two after the break to secure a well-deserved three points.

It’s the first time the Light Blues had run out competitively here in Govan in almost five months, and while supporters were unfortunately not permitted to be present, the stadium looked fantastic with the pitch immaculate and fans’ flags all around the ground.

From the side which faced Leverkusen on Thursday night, out went the injured Allan McGregor, Filip Helander, Steven Davis and Brandon Barker, with their places in the XI taken by Scotland international Jon McLaughlin for a debut, Nigeria’s Leon Balogun, Finland’s Glen Kamara and Romania’s Ianis Hagi.

Gers began the game extremely well and had two opportunities inside the opening five minutes. Firstly, Ianis Hagi saw a 25-yard free-kick land on the roof of the net after being deflected there by the Saints’ defensive.

A Ryan Jack cross from the right then reached Hagi inside the area, but his shot on the fall was well-saved by former Ger Jak Alnwick in goal for the Saints.

Alfredo Morelos then had his first sight of goal of the afternoon on 12 minutes – Hagi picking a fine ball through the packed Paisley defence to the right of goal, but Alnwick got down well to save the Colombian’s effort from a tight angle.

Joe Aribo had an effort of his own blocked by Alnwick from a similar position before the goalkeeper made a wonder save from Morelos.

More superb work from Aribo on the right saw him pick out the striker, and on the turn, six-yards out, he shot across Alnwick but somehow he managed to turn his effort around the far post.

It was virtually one-way traffic, although Leon Balogan had to make a superb tackle on Ilkay Durmas to prevent him running through on McLaughlin’s goal from midway.

By and large, however, the game was being played in and around the visitors’ 18-yard box, and after Gers kept the pressure on from a corner, they grabbed the lead with 23 minutes played.

The ball broke initially, 25-yards out to Ryan Jack, and while his shot was blocked, the ball dropped for Glen Kamara.

He slipped it to Morelos to the right of goal, and he immediately fired the ball across goal and it deflected off the unfortunate Conor McCarthy and into the back of the net.

It was the very least Gers deserved, and the pressure was incessant even afterwards.

Alnwick made another pair of wonder-saves in quick succession, denying Morelos once again before spectacularly beating away James Tavernier’s effort on the follow-up.

Tavernier then came close to an early contender for goal-of the season. Another corner was cleared to the edge of the area and the skipper flicked the ball up and volleyed it goalwards as it dropped, with Alnwick again flying across his goal to save.

After a flurry of Saints activity early in the second half, Rangers soon reasserted their dominance.

Morelos had a double chance on 56 minutes, Alnwick saving his first effort before he headed over a Borna Barisic cross after the ball was cleared out to the right.

Glen Kamara came close with a dipping 25-yard strike before on 69 minutes, Morelos did grab a deserved goal for his efforts in the afternoon.

A Tavernier corner from the right was hit with real ferocity, and it dropped beautifully onto Morelos’ head, and he had the simple task of burying the ball beyond his previous nemesis for the afternoon Alnwick.

And just like buses, his first goal of the season became his second goal of the season on 74 minutes.

Super work from Barisic on the left ended with him crossing low for Morelos, the ball going all the way through to the Colombian to poke home from a yard out.

That was to be his last action of the game, with Cedric Itten coming on to replace him just afterwards for a debut.

Calvin Bassey was another replacement, and he came close to a goal on his competitive debut, getting on the end of a Hagi ball at the back post with Alnwick again making the save.

A good, routine three points for Gers it was, however, and they go on to face St Johnstone on Wednesday back here at Ibrox.

RANGERS: McLaughlin; Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic (Bassey, 79); Jack (Davis, 74), Kamara, Aribo (Arfield, 74); Kent (Barker, 79), Hagi, Morelos (Itten, 74)

SUBS NOT USED: Firth, Helander, Patterson, Jones.

ST MIRREN: Alnwick, Tait, Shaughnessy, McCarthy, Sheron (Morais, 74), Obika (Thorvaldsson, 84), Durmas (McAllister, 79), MacPherson (Erahaon, 79), Foley, McGrath, Fraser.

SUBS NOT USED: Baird, Lyness, Henderson, Jamieson, Jack.

REFEREE: Andrew Dallas