St Mirren suffer heavy home defeat to Rangers as concerning run continues

It was a one-man show in Paisley as Kemar Roofe bagged a clinical hat trick to sink Stephen Robinson’s struggling Saints.

Any St Mirren hopes of a European hangover for the visitors were soon sent packing when Roofe notched his first of the afternoon with a clinical low header with two minutes barely on the clock.

After that early blow the Buddies managed to recover and steady the ship in the first half, limiting Rangers to very few chances while not threatening Allan McGregor’s goal much themselves.

But just before the break Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men capitalized on some poor defending yet again.

After Aaron Ramsey nearly ripped the bar off with a fierce drive, Roofe found himself in space once again to nod home and double their lead.

Roofe proved his striker’s instinct once again just five minutes into the second half when he slammed home to virtually put the result to bed.

Joe Aribo curls home Rangers fourth of the afternoon

And Joe Aribo made sure of all three points when he curled a fine finish into the top corner to complete the scoring, concerningly the 14th goal St Mirren have conceded in their last four matches.

It was a weekend to forget on numerous fronts for the Buddies as their top six hopes ended yesterday before the painful defeat, with Robinson’s side now facing a serious battle to avoid the Premiership relegation play-off spot currently occupied by St Johnstone.

The Buddies were again without Jak Alnwick, Greg Kiltie, Scott Tanser and Ryan Flynn as Stephen Robinson made just one change to his starting XI from the 4-2 defeat at Fir Park that ultimately cost them the chance of a top six spot this season.

Charles Dunne came into the heart of the defense in place of Conor McCarthy, who was named among the substitutes.

There was a moment to savor for Saints Academy kids Kenzie Smyth, Ewan Thompson, Gavin Gallagher and Aiden Gilmartin who were all handed a spot on the bench against the current reigning Premiership champions.

The Saints went into yesterday’s clash looking to put some distance between themselves and St Johnstone before the split started.

But those hopes suffered an extremely early blow when Rangers opened the scoring with just two minutes on the clock.

In just their first attack a ball from the right was fizzed across the box by James Tavernier. Ryan Kent collected the loose ball on the left wing before picking out Roofe, who expertly tried low past Dean Lyness to break the deadlock.

St Mirren looked to rally after the early setback, with Connor Ronan bursting forward before teeing up Jordan Jones on the left. His cross from him into the box was just too high as the chance to equalize went begging.

Alex Gogic was next to break through the heart of the midfield before sending Jones free down the wing, with the linesman cutting the move short for offside – much to the dismay of the home support.

Connor Goldson was given too much time on the edge of the box as the visitors looked to double their lead. Luckily for St Mirren his wayward effort almost cleared the stand.

The Buddies steadied the ship but Rangers slowly grew in confidence as the hosts sat deep in their own half.

Alan Power picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon for a poorly timed challenge on Kent on the edge of the box. Tavernier blasted the resulting free-kick well over the bar.

The game lacked intensity in the first half, not helped by a below-average home attendance and with Rangers supporters behind both goals.

Jones was the Buddies’ main attacking threat, regularly taking on his man and getting to the byline.

Unfortunately, he just couldn’t find a teammate in the box, with Allan McGregor comfortably holding his crosses on numerous occasions. Ramsey tested Lyness’ reflexes with a low strike from the edge of the box in a rare first half flashpoint.

Jones almost picked out Jay Henderson with a fizzing cross to the back post just before the break, but it was just too high for the diminutive winger to connect with.

Rangers looked certain to double their advantage just before the break when the ball broke to Wales international Ramsey inside the box in acres of space. The on-loan Juventus midfielder could only rattle a fierce strike off the underside of the bar.

The Buddies thought they’d got away with one, but with the last attack of the half they eventually did grab their second of the afternoon.

In an almost carbon copy of the first, this time Tavernier teed up Roofe to plant a header past Lyness to send the Rangers support behind the goal wild.

That late header left St Mirren with a mountain to climb in the second half, with Robinson forced into his first change as McCarthy replaced fellow center back Dunne.

Again it was Roofe who made an instant impact. Joe Aribo and Fashion Sakala combined on the left wing before the ball broke to the striker inside the box.

He drove it low past Lyness to bag his hat-trick in the space of just 50 minutes.

St Mirren tried to make their mark on the game, with Alex Gogic’s powerful strike from distance palmed away by McGregor.

Strikers Alex Greive and Curtis Main were thrown into the action with 30 minutes left on the clock as Robinson looked to pose more of a threat up front.

Rangers should have made it four when McCarthy gifted the hosts possession and they quickly broke into the Buddies’ box. Amad Diallo fired wastefully wide with the goal at his mercy from him.

Main thumped a low long-range effort off target after being gifted possession as the Buddies looked to get on the scoresheet late on.

But it was the visitors that rubbed salt into the wounds as Joe Aribo found the top corner with a sweet curling strike from the edge of the box to wrap up the scoring.

Greive and Gogic both had chances late on to break the Buddies duck, but they were ultimately spurned leaving the Saints with nothing to celebrate ending a hugely disappointing weekend for the Paisley club.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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