Co-operative Insurance Cup highlights - St Mirren 0-1 Rangers
By Andy Campbell
Rangers claimed victory in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final, despite having two men sent off against St Mirren at Hampden.
The Buddies dominated the first half, Steven Thomson and David Barron coming close to breaking the deadlock.
Kevin Thomson was sent off for a dangerous tackle on his namesake Steven and Danny Wilson saw red for a professional foul on Craig Dargo.
But Kenny Miller headed a dramatic winner for Rangers in the 84th minute.
For St Mirren it was heartbreak as they failed to secure their first League Cup triumph, while Rangers claimed their 26th tournament win.
Saints made a positive start and Billy Mehmet robbed David Weir of possession and sent a deflected cross to the back post, forcing Sasa Papac to head out of play.
Steven Whittaker arrowed a low drive into the grasp of St Mirren goalkeeper Paul Gallacher before setting up Miller for a run and shot but the striker could not keep his effort down.
Alexander, who replaced regular first-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor as per the previous rounds of the competition, wanted too much time with a backpass and was almost caught by Jack Ross but the ball rebounded out for a goal-kick.
But Alexander looked more assured moments later when he made a goal-line save to deny Steven Thomson after the midfielder had been found by Michael Higdon's cut-back.
Miller netted with a powerful header past goalkeeper Gallacher
From the resulting corner, the ball broke out to Barron, who was deployed in central defence in the absence of Chris Innes, and he clipped the top of the crossbar with a long-range pile-driver.
Pressure continued to come on the Rangers defence and Higdon fired into the side netting after latching on to Mehmet's flick-on.
Steven Davis had been an illness doubt for Rangers before kick-off and was withdrawn at half-time, Maurice Edu coming on in a reshaped line-up.
Saints came close when Ross headed a long ball down to Mehmet, who turned Weir before sending a tame shot into Alexander's arms.
Kevin Thomson saw red after being penalised for a late lunge on Steven Thomson during another St Mirren advance.
The flashpoint brought an edge to the game and referee Craig Thomson had a word with several players in an attempt to calm proceedings.
Rangers looked to take advantage of a growing number of set plays but neither Kris Boyd or Edu could find the target with headers.
A Nacho Novo free-kick caused chaos in the St Mirren box and Higdon made a crucial block to divert Miller's shot wide.
Steven Thomson crossed for Higdon but the striker could not get his foot around the ball enough to test the Rangers goal.
Dargo replaced Mehmet and made an immediate impact as he tried to reach a long ball and was pulled back by Danny Wilson. The defender was promptly sent off, with the referee adjudging that Wilson had denied a clear goalscoring opportunity.
But St Mirren struggled to make their numerical advantage count and were punished on a breakaway as substitute Steven Naismith crossed for Miller to head beyond Gallacher.
The shell-shocked Saints pushed for an equaliser but could not find a way through a resolute Rangers back-line.
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