Rangers joined Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League on Monday with a 3-0 victory away to St Mirren — setting-up a final day showdown for the title. An early Kris Boyd goal and a double from Jean-Claude Darcheville ensured the Ibrox side joined their Old Firm rivals on 86 points.
However, in a game Rangers dominated, they missed the chance to eradicate Celtic’s better goal difference. The title will now be decided on Thursday, with Rangers at Aberdeen and Celtic taking on Dundee United at Tannadice, and the Parkhead side’s advantage of four goals could yet prove the deciding factor.
Rangers manager Walter Smith, though, was just happy to have secured all three points on Monday.
He said: “It was a very solid performance for us and overall we’re happy with the victory.
“You never go into a game looking to win by a big number of goals, you just set out to win.
“We could have scored more goals but we’re just delighted we have won and to go to the last game of the season level on points with Celtic, albeit they have a better goal difference,” he said.
A goal feast looked to be on the cards when the Ibrox side took the lead in only the fourth minute.
Steven Davis chipped the ball to the back post, former St Mirren defender Kirk Broadfoot played it back across the face of goal and Boyd bundled home from only a few yards out.
Rangers doubled their lead in the 24th minute, following a mix-up in the St Mirren defense.
Stephen O’Donnell had time to clear at the edge of the box but instead took his eye off the ball allowing Davis to nick in and play it on to Darcheville.
The French forward took a touch before firing a low right-foot effort beyond St Mirren goalkeeper Mark Howard into the corner of the net from 20-yards.
Davis’ cross was nodded back by Boyd and the Frenchman’s overhead kick bounced off the bottom of the post.
Rangers’ Spanish forward Nacho Novo tried to increase their lead in the 52nd minute but, although his shot looked to be beating goalkeeper Howard, Haining was in the right position to head clear.
Darcheville rolled the ball back from the byline but, from 18m, Novo sliced his shot harmlessly wide.
Rangers were now really piling on the pressure and Howard needed to make a fine save in the 58th minute, diving full-length to his right to push Darcheville’s shot round the post.
St Mirren were rarely able to venture past the halfway line but in the 68th minute they almost pulled one back with Billy Mehmet’s glancing header bouncing inches wide. In the 69th minute Rangers increased their lead.