They were made to work for the points, but Rangers secured a 3-1 win at Hamilton Academical on Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Jack continued his impressive goalscoring form with the opener after seven minutes, and at that early stage, it looked likely to be a one-sided affair.
However, after 14 minutes, some shoddy defending allowed the hosts back into the game with Lewis Smith finishing at the end of their first meaningful attack.
Thereafter, Rangers struggled to regain their momentum, and it took a stunning strike from Ryan Kent on the stroke of half-time to restore the lead.
The second half was scrappy with the Gers struggling to create clear openings and looking increasingly vulnerable at the back.
In injury time, with Hamilton pressing for an equaliser, Kent grabbed his second after being slipped in by substitute, Alfredo Morelos, making it 3-1.
It wasn’t pretty for the most part, but in the end, it was enough and the Gers stay behind Celtic only on goal difference [BBC Sport]
Here’s how we thought the Rangers players fared:
Allan McGregor – 6
A passenger in the first half with nothing to do other than to pick the ball out of his net for the Accies goal. More frequently called upon in the second half and showed safe hands to catch a close-range Oakley header with ten minutes to go.
James Tavernier – 5
A major threat driving forward down the right in the early stages and the architect of the first goal. Beat players with ease at times, although his crossing got progressively poorer throughout. Again guilty of taking too many touches in defensive areas and was caught out of position at times in a shaky second half.
Connor Goldson – 4
One of several Gers guilty of statuesque defending for the Hamilton goal. Fluffed his lines when presented with a free header close to half-time. Inexplicably went walkabout after an hour and was very fortunate not to be punished as Mikel Miller missed a tap-in at the back post. A poor display from a player who had looked so assured before the international break.
Filip Helander – 5
A last-ditch block wasn’t enough to prevent the hosts’ early equaliser. Like Goldson, he struggled to deal with the physicality of Steve Davies at times and he must share the blame for Rangers looking vulnerable any time the home side mounted an attack. Got up well to meet a set-piece with 15 minutes remaining, but failed to hit the target.
Borna Barisic – 5
Switched off badly at the back post for the first goal. Otherwise had a strong first half pressing forward to support Kent on the left flank. Good deliveries from set-pieces as we’ve become accustomed to. Positionally suspect at times.
Glen Kamara – 6
Tidy in possession without doing anything spectacular during the first 45 minutes. Most important involvement of the game came just after the hour mark when a last-ditch touch put Miller off just enough to prevent a certain goal.
Ryan Jack – 8
Had the freedom of the pitch and looked a class above in the first half. Took his early goal well with a supremely confident first-time finish. Came close on multiple occasions thereafter and picked out Tavernier with a wonderful pass which should have lead to a second. Slightly less effective in the second period, but a very strong outing nonetheless.
Joe Aribo – 6
Tidy on the ball, as usual, looking to press forward from midfield. Had a shot from a tight angle saved in the opening stages of the second half. Not as influential as last time out against Livi. Subbed for Davis after 77 minutes.
Scott Arfield – 4
A nice backheel to set up a Jack shot but otherwise very quiet in the first half, as has been a theme this season. Tried to do more after the break, but nothing seems to be coming off for him at the minute and his lack of pace is still a concern when playing out wide. Multiple attempted passes cut out with away supporters becoming audibly frustrated. Replaced by Ojo after 68 minutes.
Ryan Kent – 9
Heavily involved throughout, very unlucky to hit the post after a stunning run and shot in the early stages. Fluffed several chances thereafter in what looked to be a frustrating first half, before he produced an outstanding moment of quality. Shifting inside onto his left foot, he sent a stunning drive into the far top corner to restore Rangers’ one-goal advantage. Showed confidence to tuck away a simple finish in injury time to secure the points.
Jermain Defoe – 6
Used clever movement and constantly tried to get on the ball, without much joy in the first half. The compactness of the Accies defence made it hard for him to get any clear sights at goal. Booked for going in over the ball and then subbed for Morelos in the closing stages.
Subs: Sheyi Ojo – 4, Steven Davis n/a, Morelos n/a