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.