After the winter break put the league on hold for three weeks, Rangers looked to pick up where they left off at Celtic Park last month but it was far from a convincing performance.
Saints boss Jim Goodwin had admitted pre-match that he aimed to “frustrate the life” out of the Gers and the Irishman will have been reasonably happy despite losing.
The Gers made six changes from the Scottish Cup win over Stranraer on Friday but it was a similarly flat performance as the Light Blues made heavy work of the Paisley side.
FULL-TIME: Rangers 1-0 St Mirren
Three points at Ibrox pic.twitter.com/eDCletTEXK
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) January 22, 2020
Jermain Defoe’s first-half strike was the difference between the two but there was never any real threat from the visitors as they “parked two buses.”
Here’s how Steven Gerrard’s side performed against the Buddies:
Allan McGregor – 6
Absolute passenger. Could’ve played literally anyone in goal for all the difference it would have made.
Jon Flanagan – 6
An unpopular choice to replace James Tavernier following Nathan Patterson’s debut but was solid defensively. Doesn’t offer as much going forward but decent showing from the former Liverpool man.
Connor Goldson – 6
Given the freedom to stroll forward in possession and rarely tested defensively. When St. Mirren did get forward, he dealth with it comfortably.
Niko Katic – 6
Almost opened the scoring midway through the first half. One shaky moment let the Buddies in but it came to nothing. Had a bigger impact in attack than defensively as St. Mirren offered little.
Borna Barisic – 8
50th competitive game for Rangers and a massive threat down the left. Defender was Rangers’ main attacking outlet for long spells. Excellent low cross picked out Defoe for the opener.
Ryan Jack – 6
Played slightly deeper and used the ball well as St. Mirren tried to stifle the game with ten men behind the ball. Not his usual dynamic performance but a lot of that was down to the visitors sitting so deep.
Glen Kamara – 7
A good shift from the Finn as he moved the ball and looked find spaces for the more attack-minded players to cause problems. Replaced by Arfield with 20 minutes left.
Steven Davis – 7
Ulsterman dictated the play in midfield as Rangers tried to find gaps in the packed defence and let his experience shine through.
Joe Aribo – 7
Worked hard on the right of the Rangers front three but found it hard to get space as the visitors kept ten men behind the ball for large spells of the game. Replaced by Sheyi Ojo with ten minutes to go.
Ryan Kent – 6
Flashes of what he can do but struggled to really impose himself on the game and carve the St. Mirren defence open. Took a sore one in the second half from Paul McGinn.
Jermain Defoe – 7
Struggled to get involved early on before scoring the opener ten minutes before the break. The veteran striker is deadly when he gets the chance and showed that against the Paisley side.
Substitutes: Scott Arfield – Replaced Glen Kamara with 20 minutes left. Sheyi Ojo – Ten minutes in place of Aribo at the end.