Rangers got back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory against a 10-man St Mirren, with the victors leapfrogging their opponents on goal difference into second place in the Cinch Premiership.
There was nothing to choose between the sides in the early exchanges until Rangers were awarded a penalty after Ryan Strain handled the ball in the area, which saw the Australian defender sent to the dressing room before the half hour mark.
James Tavernier got the scoring started from the resultant spot kick and the skipper was then instrumental in Rangers adding their second with 20 minutes left. His floated through ball found Nicolas Raskin who delivered an inch perfect low cross to Abdallah Sima who scored for the fourth game running.
Captain Tavernier got his second of the afternoon with a stunning volley in stoppage time.
Rangers arrived in Paisley knowing that a third defeat in a row, to a St Mirren side still unbeaten in the league, would leave them 10 points adrift of rivals Celtic.
Steven Davis looked for a spark in his side that fell to a disastrous 2-1 defeat in Limassol midweek, throwing in Zak Lovelace for his first Rangers start.
The travelling support made there feelings clear about the current displays on the park, unveiling a banner in the 10th minute that said ‘Heartless, passionless, leaderless. Not fit to wear our colours’.
A poignant statement leaving the players in no doubt about the swell of discontent in the ranks.
Scott Tanser has the clearest opening early in the first half, fresh from signing a new contract this week, the defender found himself in space on the right of the box before managing to blaze his shot over the bar.
Rangers then found themselves with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock from the spot after Zak Lovelace’s drilled shot fell to Abdallah Sima, who looked all but certain to convert the chance before Ryan Strain touched the ball with his hand to impede the Senegalese forward.
St Mirren’s misery was compiled further as Strain saw red for the offence, before James Tavernier converted to give the visitors the lead.
It was almost 2-0 three minutes later when Connor Goldson bulleted a header towards goal from a corner, only to be denied by an acrobatic save from Zach Hemming.
Lovelace’s first start in a Rangers shirt was to come to premature end as the forward was substituted four minutes before the break with an injury. Davis once again turned to youth with Ross McCausland stepping of the bench as he had done in Cyprus on Thursday.
After a pedestrian start to the second period, Abdallah Sima added a second for the away side. The striker latched on to the end of a clever pass across the box from Nicolas Raskin, netting his seventh goal of the season.
Cyriel Dessers looked certain to add a third for Rangers late in the game but the the substitute scuffed his effort towards the grateful Hemming.
Rangers did add a third in stoppage time when James Tavernier unleashed a volley into the top corner to seal a solid win for the visitors.
Steven Davis leaves Paisley with his first win under his belt in the Rangers hotseat and will hope that three points will propel his side on a winning run to close the gap on Celtic at the summit of the Premiership.