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Alfredo Morelos stars as Rangers maintain six-point lead with win over St Mirren

By December 26, 2021No Comments

Alfredo Morelos continued his fine form under new Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst with another goal in a routine 2-0 cinch Premiership win over St Mirren.

With attendances capped to 500 due to government restrictions, Ibrox echoed to cheers in the 13th minute when attacker Scott Wright headed the hosts into the lead and again in the 26th minute when the Colombia forward hammered in his sixth goal in eight games under the Dutchman.

Morelos had several other attempts to further increase his goal contribution in a one-sided match in which the visitors offered little in attack.

Van Bronckhorst is unbeaten in nine games since taking over from Steven Gerrard and his side go into the rescheduled winter break still six points ahead of Old Firm rivals Celtic, who beat St Johnstone 3-1 at McDiarmid Park earlier in the day.

Saints had 11 players missing with Covid issues against Celtic in midweek and still managed to battle to a creditable goalless draw but Jim Goodwin’s side looked much stronger for facing the other side of the Old Firm.

Goalkeeper Jak Alnwick returned as did Alan Power, Jamie McGrath, Ryan Flynn and Ethan Erhahon.

Borna Barisic, Joe Aribo and Wright came back into the Rangers side at an almost empty stadium which almost saw a Gers goal in the third minute.

Gers forward Ryan Kent combined with Joe Aribo before setting up Morelos 12 yards out but his shot was blocked by Saints captain Joe Shaughnessy.

With that, the template was set.

As Rangers moved forward, the visitors retreated to the edge of their own box.

In the 10th minute Morelos headed a cross from Barisic over the bar but the goal soon arrived and it came from a James Tavernier corner.

The skipper’s delivery into the box was headed on by Aribo at the front post and Wright’s header at the back post crossed the line before Alnwick clawed the ball back and Morelos made sure.

Alnwick could have counted himself unfortunate at Rangers’ second goal after initially making a terrific save from Morelos’ header from a Barisic cross but the Light Blues forward pounced on the loose ball and rattled it into the net from six yards.

Alnwick denied Morelos in the 37th minute when he made a great save from the striker’s powerful drive before diving down to his left-hand post to grab an effort from Aribo moments later.

Morelos was a man on a mission. He headed a Kent cross past the post then thundered a 20-yard drive over the bar before the break.

Wright struck the St Mirren post from a narrow angle on the hour-mark and Barisic flashed the rebound well over the bar as unconverted opportunities mounted.

Kent and Ianis Hagi made way for Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala and the home side kept pressing with Alnwick making another fine save, this time from Tavernier’s right-footed volley from outside the box.

But the tempo slowly departed the match and Morelos and Arfield missed the target with shots as the match fizzled out to a comfortable home win.