Rangers sink 10-man St Mirren

PA Sport
Kyle Lafferty, Rangers
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Kyle Lafferty, Rangers

Rangers claimed three points with a 3-1 victory over 10-man St Mirren to strengthen their grasp on second spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League in a match that witnessed four penalties.

Celtic wrapped up the title at Kilmarnock earlier in the day but the clash at Ibrox also proved to be action-packed as goals from Lee McCulloch, Andy Little and Kyle Lafferty - from the spot - sealed the victory.

Paul McGowan's penalty for the Paisley club proved to be scant consolation as team-mate Jeroen Tesselaar saw red, while McCulloch and Sone Aluko both failed to convert their own spot-kicks for Rangers.

Rangers fans demonstrated their opposition to the club being liquidated with a show of red cards and banners before kick-off. The red cards were displayed again on the 18th and 72nd minutes to mark the year the club was founded, as a message to bidders vying for control of Rangers.

Ally McCoist's men enjoyed the best possible start to the game when McCulloch met a Steven Davis pass and nodded past goalkeeper Craig Samson with just 47 seconds on the clock. Rangers should have doubled their lead when Maurice Edu was tripped in the box by Steven Thomson but Aluko's penalty crashed off the post with 14 minutes gone.

Saints could have hauled themselves back into the match when McGowan tried to lob into an empty net, with goalkeeper Allan McGregor well off his line after making a headed clearance, but the effort dropped on to the top netting.

Rangers had the net bulging five minutes before the break when the ball broke for Little and he stroked past Samson to double the lead.

The second half got off to a dramatic start when Saints were awarded a penalty four minutes after the restart for a Dorin Goian foul on Steven Thompson and McGowan rifled into the back of the net from 12 yards.

The referee then pointed to the spot again a minute later when Aluko was the victim of a challenge by Tesselaar. Tesselaar was handed a red card for the incident but Rangers again failed to make the penalty count when McCulloch saw his effort punched to safety by Samson.

On what was proving to be a busy and quite remarkable afternoon for the match official, Collum handed out a fourth penalty - this time for a Lee Mair foul on McCulloch. Substitute Lafferty then showed how it was done from the spot when he lashed home as Rangers held on to at least claim victory on the day they relinquished the SPL crown.

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