Momentum building ahead of Maribor return
Connor Goldson celebrates putting Rangers 2-0 up against St Mirren at Ibrox (pic: SNS Group)
Rangers 2 St Mirren 0
Rangers can look forward to their Europa League return against Maribor with confidence after completing a successful week against St Mirren.
Momentum has been building nicely for Steven Gerrard and his players since the start of the season and the victory over the Buddies will see the squad head to Slovenia with spirits high.
First-half goals from Alfredo Morelos and Connor Goldson had the home side 2-0 ahead before Ross McCrorie was red carded for hauling down Nicolai Brock-Madsen with 31 minutes on the clock.
It was the second league game in succession the Light Blues had been reduced to 10 men after Morelos’ dismissal at Aberdeen, although this was reduced to a caution on appeal.
Reflecting on the match, the Rangers boss said: “The sending-off was completely different to last week when we felt hard done by, said our piece and got justice in terms of the decision being overturned.
“I thought the officials were really, really good today. They got the decision spot-on and we’ve got no complaints.
“I’ve spoken to the team and praised them for the result. But I’ve also spoken about discipline and composure out there. It’s difficult enough with 11 men. We’re picking up too many red and yellow cards for my liking. But we’ll learn and grow.”
Allan McGregor was untroubled in the Rangers goal for the majority of the match, although he can expect a busier time of it in Slovenia on Thursday as the Glasgow side attempt to defend a 3-1 lead in the second leg..
St Johnstone and Hibs had to settle for a share of the spoils in Perth, with nothing to separate the teams after a keen contest.
A deflected shot from Tony Watt had the hosts ahead after 22 minutes, with the Hibees equalising in the 51st minute through Oli Shaw’s back-post header.
Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, stressed he has no intention of quitting Celtic after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle.
After missing out on John McGinn to Aston Villa earlier in the week, Rodgers intimated he would consider his future if the Parkhead board didn’t match his ambition.
However, we made it clear after his side’s first league defeat of the season that had no plans to walk away from the post.
“Despite reports, there’s talk of ultimatums with the board – I don’t work that way,” he said. “My communication is very open, so that’s certainly not the case.
“I’d read somewhere else about walking away – I’ve got three years left on my contract and I love every day of my life at Celtic. All I want is for us to improve every aspect of the club.”
Match-winner Kyle Lafferty has been the subject of interest from Rangers, the Edinburgh club having rejected a £200,000 bid for their top scorer last season.
The striker remains open to a return to the club where he spent four years earlier in his career.
“It’s nice to have teams like Rangers interested in me,” said the Northern Ireland international.
“I think everyone knows I’m a Rangers supporter but obviously it’s up to the two clubs to work something out.”
Elsewhere in the Premiership, Aberdeen defeated Dundee at Dens Park thanks to a Gary Mackay-Steven penalty, Hamilton edged out Motherwell 1-0 at Fir Park and Livingston and Kilmarnock battled out a 0-0 draw in West Lothian.