Rangers survived an early scare to brush aside bottom side Ross County 4-2 and go four points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership.
Celtic’s 4-2 win over Dundee at Dens Park earlier in the day put some pressure on the Ibrox men who found themselves a goal down to a Joseph Hungbo goal after only five minutes.
It was the fifth game in a row that Steven Gerrard’s side had lost the first goal but it was cancelled out by Joe Aribo’s header in 19 minutes before Ryan Kent, making his first start since September, scored his first goal of the season with a 25-yard piledriver.
Juninho Bacuna drilled in a third in the 49th for his first Rangers goal and captain James Tavernier’s cross was deflected into his own goal by County defender Alex Iacovitti.
Substitute Jordan White, on for Hungbo, grabbed a late second for the visitors but Rangers go into the international break four points clear of their Old Firm rivals although Gerrard should have some concerns about his side’s sloppy start to matches.
The Gers boss had threatened to make changes following the 1-1 Europa League draw with Brondby in Denmark on Thursday night and Calvin Bassey, John Lundstram, Bacuna, Ianis Hagi and Kent came in while Ryan Jack was on the bench after being out since February.
After a minute’s silence in tribute to Remembrance Day, Ibrox was stunned when the Highlanders took the early lead.
Regan Charles-Cook sent Hungbo racing past the Gers rearguard and the attacker, on loan from Watford, slipped the ball past Gers keeper Allan McGregor.
The leveller came when a Tavernier corner was met by Aribo at the near post and he headed it into the far corner, to calm the growing anxiety in the crowd, made up of home fans only.
In the 29th minute only a terrific last-gasp tackle by Harry Clarke prevented Fashion Sakala getting a shot in from close range but when the Staggies failed to properly clear their lines following the corner, Kent sent a dipping shot from 25 yards over Ashley Maynard-Brewer and into the net.
The visitors found themselves further behind soon after the break when Bacuna played a one-two with Aribo and hammered a drive from the edge of the box past Maynard-Brewer to effectively seal the points.
Iacovitti was unlucky on the hour-mark when Tavernier’s cross from the right came off him and past Maynard-Brewer for a fourth.
Kemar Roofe replaced Kent immediately afterwards and then Nathan Patterson and Jack came on for Leon Balogun and Lundstram respectively with Jack getting a huge ovation from the Gers fans glad to see him back in action.
Substitute White fired past McGregor with three minutes remaining but it was too late to be anything other than a consolation.
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