Rangers 5-0 Ross County: Steven Gerrard’s side another step closer to title 55 after win on 150th match in charge

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STEVEN GERRARD marked a milestone with a routine victory. The landmark achievement is now just a matter of weeks away.

This Premiership fixture with Ross County was the 150th time that Gerrard has taken charge of Rangers and it can be put in amongst the most comfortable and most straightforward of his tenure.

It carried its own significance, of course, and it is now a matter of when, not if, the league title is won. The gap to Celtic stands at 23 points in the table and there is a gulf across Glasgow.

First half goals from Ryan Kent, Filip Helander and Joe Aribo had this match settled. After the break, Ryan Jack marked his return to the team with a fine goal and Connor Goldson completed the scoring in a 5-0 win that could, and should, have been even more emphatic.

 

🙌 @ryankent enjoyed that header. pic.twitter.com/GuhkNkEm4r
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) January 23, 2021

 

Afternoons such as this aren’t going to be defining in County’s bid to beat the drop and there is no reason for boss John Hughes to be overly despondent. His side came up against an outfit that were sharper and more clinical and when Rangers are in this kind of mood there are few in the top flight who can live with them.

As Celtic have capitulated in spectacular fashion in recent months, Rangers have stuck to their ‘one game at a time’ mantra. It continues to pay huge dividends and there should be no fears about Gerrard’s side seeing it out this time around.

Ryan Kent of Rangers celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers Ross County at Ibrox

That has been the final, forlorn hope for Celtic for some time. The mistakes of the last two seasons will not be repeated for a third time, however, and this performance was as fluent and confident as you would expect from a side that are on the brink of being crowd champions.

It wouldn’t have been hard for Rangers to improve on their lacklustre showing against Motherwell last weekend, but this outing was everything that the one at Fir Park wasn’t. The rise in standards naturally resulted in a different outcome and the positives were plentiful for Gerrard.

Wins like this have been the norm for Rangers this season and the way they have taken care of inferior opposition has been one of their trademarks.

When Kent headed home after six minutes – the winger nodding the ball beyond Ross Laidlaw after Alfredo Morelos cushioned a James Tavernier cross into his path – the task was almost mission impossible for County.

Connor Goldson of Rangers celebrates with team mates Cedric Itten and Borna Barisic after scoring their side’s fifth goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers Ross County at Ibrox

The game should have been beyond them when referee Euan Anderson pointed to the spot after Alex Iacovitti fouled Morelos but Tavernier spurned his opportunity from 12 yards. Given his miss at Pittodrie a fortnight ago, boss Gerrard now has a problem to face over whether his captain remains on penalty duty.

It wouldn’t prove costly for Rangers. Kent almost doubled his tally with a low drive that hit the foot of the post and rebounded wide off the back of a beaten Laidlaw and there was a sense that the second goal was coming.

Helander provided it as his towering header left Laidlaw with no chance and the keeper was well beaten as Aribo made it 3-0 with a stunning effort. There have been many moments of magic this term from Rangers, but this was right up there with the best of them.

 

🇸🇪 pic.twitter.com/SjrnVUzFku
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) January 23, 2021

 

A dink down the line from Tavernier set Aribo free. He skipped by Charlie Lakin and then Connor Randall with a deftness of touch and movement and had the goal in his sight.

The spot he picked was the far corner of the net and Aribo would find it with a marvellous finish worthy of winning any fixture. From then, it was a matter of how many Rangers would win by.

Rangers’ Ryan Jack celebrates scoring his side’s fourth goal of the game during the Scottish Premiership match at Ibrox

The deficit was almost reduced when Harry Paton’s low strike clattered the post and rebounded along the line. The woodwork was struck once again when Iacovitti’s header looped over Allan McGregor but didn’t drop into the net.

There were two chances for Morelos in there as well but he didn’t get the rewards his fine performance merited and he would soon make way in a raft of changes. There were minutes for Cedric Itten and Jermain Defoe up front, while Jack returned in midfield alongside Bongani Zungu and later Nathan Patterson would impress off the bench.

Jack’s impact was almost immediate. He would knock the ball into Itten and then continue his run beyond the striker before being picked out by Ianis Hagi and the finish was cool as County looked to avoid further damage in the closing stages.

A fine save from Laidlaw would deny Jack a second from the edge of the area but he was beaten with nine minutes remaining as Rangers made it 5-0.

 

FULL-TIME: Rangers 5-0 Ross County
👏 Five different goalscorers and a clean sheet at Ibrox. pic.twitter.com/2P0ixAJrMB
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) January 23, 2021

 

Borna Barisic again got the assist from the corner and it was Goldson who would connect this time as a flicked header was placed away from Laidlaw.

Rangers would settle for that in the end and it was very much a case of a job well done at Ibrox as another Premiership win was secured and three points added to their tally.

Sooner rather than later, Gerrard’s side will have completed the most important job. And Gerrard will have the most significant achievement of his Ibrox career.

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