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Page last updated at 21:39 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

St Mirren   0 - 2   Rangers

Rangers players celebrate scoring against St Mirren
Rangers were made to work for their victory after taking such an early lead

By Andy Campbell

Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers moved 10 points clear of Celtic after overcoming a determined St Mirren side.

Steven Davis beat the offside trap to give the visitors an early lead and Lee McCulloch hit the St Mirren crossbar before half-time.

Billy Mehmet missed the Buddies' best chance when he headed wide after meeting Garry Brady's cross.

Nacho Novo clinched Rangers' victory with a well-taken strike four minutes from the end.

The result, allied to Celtic's defeat to Hibernian, stretches the reigning champions' advantage at the top of the league, with Celtic having played a game less. St Mirren slip one place to ninth.

Rangers were in front within two minutes as Davis played an inventive one-two with Northern Ireland team-mate Kyle Lafferty.

Lafferty lofted a return ball over the top of the St Mirren defence and the offside Kenny Miller was adjudged not to have been interfering with play as Davis waltzed through to score from inside the box.

St Mirren were stung by such an early setback and Mehmet's backwards header drifted over before Brady and David Barron were unsuccessful with shots from outside the box.

The visitors remained dangerous on the break and Lafferty held off several defenders before drawing a save from Paul Gallacher.

McCulloch was inches away from getting a second for Rangers when he turned in the box and lifted a volley onto the crossbar.

Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch and St Mirren defender Chris Innes
McCulloch came close for Rangers twice before the break

Moments later, referee Craig Thomson ignored claims for a penalty after Rangers insisted the ball had struck the arm of Michael Higdon.

The influential Davis threatened the Saints goal again with a pile-driver from the edge of the box but Gallacher got a powerful hand behind the shot and Novo could not meet the rebound for what would have been a tap-in.

McCulloch's deflected shot brought out another impressive save from Gallacher before the turnaround and Steven Whittaker drove through a ruck of players and wide of the St Mirren goal after the restart.

Saints went back on the offensive with Brady firing into the side netting and Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor punching away a dangerous dipping cross from Andy Dorman.

Lafferty was denied by Gallacher after bursting down the inside right channel shortly before the striker was replaced by Kevin Thomson.

And Mehmet could have made Rangers pay for that miss when he rose unchallenged to get on the end of Brady's cross but the towering forward missed the gaping goal.

Novo missed with a header and failed to convert a teasing cutback by Miller before finally getting on the scoresheet to ensure the visitors left Paisley with all three points.

The forward collected Davis' pass, bore down on Gallacher's goal and lashed powerfully into the net with the aid of the post.


St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson:
"There were stages in the game where we played pretty well and we created good opportunities.

"Most notably, Garry Brady and Billy Mehmet had really good chances.

"If we had taken one of those chances, it would've been interesting to see how the game would've panned out.

"Both of the goals we lost, from a defensive point of view, were poor.

"When you lose a goal so early, it's a real blow to the players. But they buckled down and got on with their jobs and showed a lot of courage.

"I thought they gave a reasonable account of themselves."

Rangers manager Walter Smith:
"We started the game very well. The first 25 minutes was by far the best part of the game for ourselves. We had some decent possession of the ball and some opportunities to score. The St Mirren goalkeeper made some good saves.

"After that, we became a little bit untidy in terms of our possession but, give credit to St Mirren, they worked us very hard.

"They put a lot into the game, they played the ball forward early and got up after it and showed a lot of energy. Consequently, the game became a little bit scrappy.

"In the end, Nacho Novo's goal took the pressure off us.

"We've got to continue to try and achieve a level of consistency that will keep us on top of the league, that's the main thing.

"There's a lot of football to be played yet this season."

Live text and stats

 

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Scottish Premier

Home Team Score Away Team Time
St Mirren 0-2 Rangers FT
(HT 0-1)
    • Davis 2
    • Novo 86

    St Mirren

    • 01 Gallacher
    • 06 Potter
    • 19 Barron
    • 21 Innes
    • 02 Ross
    • 07 Murray
    • 08 Dorman
    • 10 Thomson yellow card (O'Donnell 68)
    • 14 Brady (Dargo 75)
    • 09 Mehmet
    • 11 Higdon

    Substitutes

    • 20 Howard,
    • 05 Mair,
    • 12 O'Donnell,
    • 23 Burns,
    • 28 Devlin,
    • 38 Ramsey,
    • 18 Dargo

    Rangers

    • 01 McGregor
    • 03 Weir
    • 05 Papac
    • 16 Whittaker
    • 21 Broadfoot
    • 66 Wilson
    • 06 McCulloch
    • 07 Davis
    • 10 Novo
    • 18 Miller (Naismith 77)
    • 27 Lafferty yellow card (Thomson 60)

    Substitutes

    • 25 Alexander,
    • 26 Smith,
    • 04 Mendes,
    • 08 Thomson,
    • 14 Naismith,
    • 29 Fleck,
    • 48 Little
    Ref: ThomsonAtt: 5,260
    ST MIRREN
    RANGERS

    Possession

    • St Mirren 46%
    • Rangers 54%

    Attempts on target

    • St Mirren 5
    • Rangers 15

    Attempts off target

    • St Mirren 6
    • Rangers 5

    Corners

    • St Mirren 5
    • Rangers 5

    Fouls

    • St Mirren 11
    • Rangers 9
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+2:35 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
    • 90:00+1:35 Shot from just outside the area by Stephen O'Donnell goes over the bar.
    • 88:02 Nacho Novo is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Paul Gallacher restarts play with the free kick.
    • 85:43 Assist by Steven Davis.
    • 85:43 GOAL - Nacho NovoSt Mirren 0 - 2 Rangers A goal is scored by Nacho Novo from inside the area to the top right corner of the goal. St Mirren 0-2 Rangers.
    • 84:43 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen O'Donnell on Steven Whittaker. Kevin Thomson takes the direct free kick.
    • 83:55 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Weir by Billy Mehmet. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
    • 83:14 Unfair challenge on Hugh Murray by Steven Naismith results in a free kick. Jack Ross restarts play with the free kick.
    • 79:43 Centre by Andy Dorman, Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
    • 78:44 The ball is crossed by Andy Dorman, clearance made by David Weir.
    • 76:49 Substitution Kenny Miller leaves the field to be replaced by Steven Naismith.
    • 75:40 Billy Mehmet challenges David Weir unfairly and gives away a free kick. Allan McGregor takes the indirect free kick.
    • 74:25 Substitution Garry Brady goes off and Craig Dargo comes on.
    • 74:25 Effort from outside the penalty box by Nacho Novo goes wide right of the target.
    • 71:04 Kenny Miller produces a cross, Nacho Novo takes a shot. Blocked by Chris Innes. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Chris Innes by Kirk Broadfoot. Paul Gallacher takes the free kick.
    • Correction - 67:14 Substitution Stephen O'Donnell joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Thomson.
    • Correction - 67:14 Lee McCulloch concedes a free kick for a foul on John Potter.
    • 67:14 Direct free kick taken by Paul Gallacher.
    • 67:14 Substitution Stephen O'Donnell is brought on as a substitute for Steven Thomson.
    • 67:14 awarded for an unfair challenge on John Potter by Lee McCulloch.
    • 66:43 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kirk Broadfoot by Michael Higdon. Direct free kick taken by David Weir.
    • 65:19 Danny Wilson fouled by Steven Thomson, the ref awards a free kick. Allan McGregor takes the free kick.
    • 64:27 A cross is delivered by Kevin Thomson, Nacho Novo produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 63:22 Andy Dorman crosses the ball.
    • 62:46 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Andy Dorman from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Danny Wilson.
    • 61:50 The ball is sent over by Andy Dorman, David Weir manages to make a clearance.
    • 60:22 The referee penalises Kevin Thomson for handball. Jack Ross takes the direct free kick.
    • 59:50 Centre by Garry Brady, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Billy Mehmet misses to the right of the target.
    • 59:09 Substitution Kyle Lafferty goes off and Kevin Thomson comes on.
    • 58:25 Centre by Kenny Miller.
    • 57:00 Kyle Lafferty fouled by David Barron, the ref awards a free kick. Steven Davis delivers the ball, Shot by Danny Wilson. Paul Gallacher makes a save.
    • 56:02 Nacho Novo crosses the ball, Lee McCulloch produces a header from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.
    • 55:30 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Nacho Novo from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Michael Higdon.
    • 52:38 Shot by Steven Thomson. Blocked by Kirk Broadfoot. Kyle Lafferty takes a shot. Save made by Paul Gallacher.
    • 51:45 Andy Dorman produces a cross, Allan McGregor makes a save. Corner taken right-footed by Garry Brady from the left by-line, Steven Whittaker makes a clearance.
    • 49:55 Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Thomson on Steven Davis. David Weir takes the free kick.
    • 49:06 Garry Brady produces a drilled left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 48:33 Jack Ross crosses the ball, clearance by Steven Davis.
    • 48:23 The ball is sent over by Michael Higdon, clearance by David Weir.
    • 47:11 Corner taken by Nacho Novo from the right by-line, clearance made by John Potter. Effort from outside the penalty box by Steven Whittaker goes wide right of the target.
    • 45:44 Corner from the right by-line taken by Nacho Novo, Kirk Broadfoot takes a shot. Save made by Paul Gallacher.
    • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:13 The ref blows to end the first period.
    • 45:00+0:08 Booking Steven Thomson goes into the book.
    • 45:00+0:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lee McCulloch by Steven Thomson. Allan McGregor takes the free kick.
    • 43:05 Foul by Chris Innes on Kenny Miller, free kick awarded. Shot comes in from Sasa Papac from the free kick, David Barron gets a block in.
    • 42:24 Shot from 20 yards from Billy Mehmet. Allan McGregor makes a save.
    • 41:58 A cross is delivered by Billy Mehmet, Sasa Papac manages to make a clearance.
    • 41:03 Shot by Kyle Lafferty. John Potter gets a block in.
    • 38:54 Andy Dorman takes a outswinging corner. Corner taken by Andy Dorman played to the near post, Billy Mehmet produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.
    • 38:26 The ball is crossed by Jack Ross.
    • 37:49 Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Whittaker on Jack Ross. Free kick taken by Steven Thomson.
    • 36:45 The ball is sent over by Andy Dorman, clearance by Danny Wilson.
    • 35:07 Shot from 20 yards by David Weir. Blocked by Hugh Murray.
    • 30:48 David Barron takes a short corner, The ball is swung over by Garry Brady, Kirk Broadfoot manages to make a clearance. Lee McCulloch fouled by Hugh Murray, the ref awards a free kick. Allan McGregor takes the direct free kick. The offside flag is raised against Kenny Miller. Paul Gallacher restarts play with the free kick.
    • 29:27 Steven Thomson is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Hugh Murray.
    • 28:43 The referee blows for offside against Michael Higdon. Allan McGregor takes the indirect free kick.
    • 28:23 The assistant referee signals for offside against Michael Higdon. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.
    • 27:12 Steven Davis concedes a free kick for a foul on Andy Dorman. Strike comes in from Billy Mehmet from the free kick, blocked by Steven Davis.
    • 25:02 The ball is swung over by Hugh Murray, Danny Wilson manages to make a clearance.
    • 23:55 Booking Kyle Lafferty receives a yellow card.
    • 23:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Lafferty on John Potter. Paul Gallacher restarts play with the free kick.
    • 22:11 Lee McCulloch takes a shot. Allan McGregor makes a save.
    • 21:11 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sasa Papac on Andy Dorman. Jack Ross crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, clearance made by Jack Ross. Kenny Miller crosses the ball, John Potter makes a clearance. Steven Davis takes a shot from 12 yards. Save by Paul Gallacher.
    • 20:55 Billy Mehmet takes a shot. Kirk Broadfoot gets a block in.
    • 18:25 Shot from 25 yards by Kirk Broadfoot. Save by Paul Gallacher.
    • 16:13 Lee McCulloch takes a shot. Clearance by Jack Ross. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Nacho Novo, Jack Ross makes a clearance. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Nacho Novo from the right by-line, Kirk Broadfoot takes a shot. Save by Paul Gallacher.
    • 13:19 Shot by Kyle Lafferty. Paul Gallacher makes a save.
    • 12:42 Effort from long distance by David Barron goes wide right of the target.
    • 9:38 Kyle Lafferty concedes a free kick for a foul on John Potter. Free kick taken by Paul Gallacher.
    • 8:49 The ball is sent over by David Barron, clearance by Danny Wilson.
    • 7:42 Garry Brady has an effort at goal from 25 yards. Allan McGregor makes a save.
    • 7:14 David Barron sends in a cross, Sasa Papac manages to make a clearance.
    • 6:11 Centre by John Potter, Billy Mehmet produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
    • 4:26 Shot from just outside the box by Nacho Novo goes over the bar.
    • 3:54 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andy Dorman on Lee McCulloch. Free kick taken by Danny Wilson.
    • 3:15 Kyle Lafferty challenges Chris Innes unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Gallacher takes the direct free kick.
    • 1:37 Assist by Kyle Lafferty.
    • 1:37 GOAL - Steven DavisSt Mirren 0 - 1 Rangers Steven Davis gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. St Mirren 0-1 Rangers.
    • 1:08 The ball is crossed by Andy Dorman, clearance by Sasa Papac.
    • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Scottish Premier table snapshot

    As it stood on 27 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Rangers 22 37 51
    2 Celtic 21 20 41
    3 Hibernian 21 15 39
    4 Dundee Utd 22 4 38
    5 Hearts 22 -4 28
    6 Aberdeen 20 -2 27
    7 Motherwell 21 -3 27
    8 St Johnstone 19 -9 20
    9 St Mirren 21 -10 20
    10 Hamilton 20 -17 17
    11 Kilmarnock 21 -15 15
    12 Falkirk 20 -16 14

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