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Saturday, 4 November, 2000, 17:40 GMT
Rangers romp back to form
Rangers 7-1 St Mirren
Kenny Miller made the strongest possible case for inclusion in the starting line-up for the Champions League match with Monaco with a stunning five-goal display.
In only his third SPL start for the Ibrox club, Miller notched four inside the first 32 minutes and he rounded a terrific performance off with a fifth 13 minutes from time.
With Dutch striker Michael Mols, Jorg Albertz and Ronald de Boer all back in the starting line-up, Rangers turned on the style to annihilate poor St Mirren.
A goal on half-time by Ricky Gillies was small consolation for the Buddies, while Billy Dodds and Neil McCann rounded off the scoring for Rangers.
Mols made an immediate impact - his first touch a superb turn in midfield that allowed him to thread the ball forward to Albertz, who flicked the ball instantly to Miller for a shot that was deflected wide.
But St Mirren only half cleared the corner and Miller, lurking just inside the area, lofted the ball over a crowd of players including goalkeeper Derek Scrimgour, who could only watch it drop into the net for a second-minute lead for the champions.
Shortly afterwards, deposed captain Lorenzo Amoruso took the ball over the halfway line for a shot that bounced off a defender's body for another corner.
Mols and Albertz combined again, this time on the left, to give Miller another sight of goal and he was just wide with a shot across goal.
De Boer set up Mols for a curling shot that went over as the home side topped up its confidence levels.
Arthur Numan came forward to play a one-two with Mols that needed Iain Nicolson's penalty area intervention and de Boer blasted over moments later.
Rangers were looking more like their old selves while the visitors were having trouble getting the ball out of their own half.
Mols delighted the crowd with another turn to lose his man but Albertz's final ball was of poorer quality.
Amoruso escaped a booking for bringing McGarry down from behind and it took a last-ditch intervention from Tommy Turner to stop Mols going through.
In the 18th minute St Mirren had their first sight of goal when Graham Fenton got goal-side of Amoruso only to drag his shot across goal.
Scott Walker did better from long range, forcing a spectacular tip round the post by Jesper Christiansen.
The Rangers back line were not shy in coming forward and Fernando Ricksen cantered upfield to fire in a shot that Scrimgour held at the second attempt.
Mols performed another lightning quick turn to get in a shot which was too high.
De Boer was the architect, with a ball inside the fullback to send Numan away down the left and there was Miller to bundle the ball in at the back post to add to an already impressive scoring rate.
And a minute later Miller completed a 25-minute hat-trick, leaping to head Albertz's cross past the stunned Derek Scrimgour in a blitzkreig counter-attack that had Saints floundering.
De Boer's shimmy allowed him to cut inside unchallenged but his shot was too high.
Still Miller was not satisfied and he notched his fourth in the 32nd minute.
Barry Ferguson played him in and although the goalkeeper got in the way the ball bounced over him and over the line.
Mols' ability to turn in the box took him past two men but Turner stepped in at the last minute to crowd him out.
In stoppage time St Mirren pulled one back when Fenton crossed from the right and Ricky Gillies had little trouble knocking the ball past Christiansen.
Miller wanted the last say, though, and almost got it with a curled effort that went just wide.
Rangers swapped Billy Dodds for de Boer at the break and the striker was inches wide with a long-ranger seconds into the restart.
Dodds fired over after Miller's run into the box was ended by a defender as he cut inside from the right.
Sharp did well on the left to beat his man and get in a cross and it needed Amoruso to hack clear in the end.
Fenton thought he was in and was in the process of rounding Christiansen before he realised play had stopped following a foul on Ricksen.
Dodds made it five in the 57th minute and Amoruso was the supplier.
Ferguson sent the Italian charging off down the left and Dodds came racing in to prod his low cross past Scrimgour.
Mols should have made it six when Albertz sold a defender a dummy in the box by feigning to shoot but instead knocking the ball back for a simple chance.
But the Dutchman had still to adjust his sights after so long out and blasted over.
Miller won a corner, Albertz swung it over to the back post where Amoruso thumped a downward header across goal and wide.
In the 69th minute Rangers took off Tugay and brought Bert Konterman into a midfield berth while St Mirren swapped Fenton for Jens Paeslack up front.
Amoruso won a chase with McGarry for a long ball but spoiled it by clumsily giving away a corner.
Walker got his head to it, and it took a great save by Christiansen to deny him.
But it was Miller's day, and he scored his fifth - and Rangers' sixth - in the 77th minute, smashing the ball in from the edge of the area.
Albertz then set up substitute Neil McCann for the seventh in stoppage time.
Rangers: Christensen, Ricksen, Wilson, Amoruso, Numan, de Boer, Ferguson, Tugay, Albertz, Mols, Miller.
Subs: Brown, Konterman, Dodds, McCann, J. Gibson.
St Mirren: Scrimgour, Turner, B. McLaughlin, Walker, Nicolson, McKenzie, Gillies, McGowan, Sharp, McGarry, Fenton.
Subs: Trialist, Yardley, Robinson, Paeslack.
Referee: Bobby Orr
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