Kemar Roofe scored his first Rangers hat-trick in a 4–0 win at St Mirren to reduce the gap to Premiership leaders Celtic to six points.
The 29-year-old Gers striker headed the Light Blues in front before two minutes were up and then headed in a second in an extra four minutes late in the first half, by which point boss Giovanni Van Bronckhorst had lost. to John Lundstram and Philip. Helander to injury.
Roofe drove in a third from close range five minutes into the second half and Joe Aribo’s superb finish in the 76th minute keeps the Ibrox side in the wake of their crosstown rivals ahead of the Old Firm Scottish semi-final clash Cup at Hampden Park next Sunday. .
Before that, Rangers face Braga in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final at Ibrox on Thursday night looking to overcome a 1-0 deficit for the week and victory will have boosted confidence.
Stephen Robinson’s St Mirren side, consigned to the bottom six before going into play after results elsewhere on Saturday, remain in 10th place, six points ahead of second-bottom St Johnstone, and will fear a battle relegation in their five post-split games. .
Following efforts in Portugal on Thursday, Van Bronckhorst reshuffled his squad and made five changes bringing in Borna Barisic, Helander, Aribo, Aaron Ramsey and Roofe, who made an early impact.
Ibrox captain James Tavernier lobbed the ball across the goal past the other side of the penalty area to Ryan Kent and when he returned the ball towards goal, Roofe watched his header from eight yards past the Los Angeles goalkeeper. Saints, Dean Lyness.
The hosts’ response was positive and they pushed Rangers back, but Gers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was well protected.
A blow for Rangers in the 25th minute when Lundstram had to come off after being injured, replaced by Steven Davis.
Ramsey had a meek effort from the edge of the box in the 39th minute, but Lyness made a comfortable save.
Helander then had to be helped out just before the break with injury and was replaced by 18-year-old centre-back Leon King, but the half ended on a more encouraging note.
Ramsey smashed a shot off the crossbar from a Roofe pass and then moments later, with the last action of the half, the former Leeds striker headed in Tavernier’s cross to give Govan’s men a two-goal lead in the game. interval.
James Sands and Scott Wright replaced Ramsey and Kent early in the second half, with Charles Dunne, who had taken a hit to the head in the first half, replaced by Conor McCarthy.
Wright set Roofe up inside the box after a great run, but his shot deflected was saved by Lyness.
But the Jamaican forward was not wrong when a cut from Fashion Sakala ended up on his feet as he netted the ball.
Alex Gogic forced McGregor to make his first real save of the game moments later with a shot from distance before a combination of the post and Lyness seemed to deny Sakala.
Roofe gave way to Manchester United striker Amad Diallo on loan just after the hour mark as Van Bronckhorst began to think about the second leg against Braga.
But the Rangers were now in complete control.
A quick Rangers break in the 70th minute saw Sakala roll into Diallo for an easy chance, but he missed the target before Lyness denied Tavernier from close range.
However, sparkle was applied to the scoring and performance when Aribo turned 20 yards and passed the ball over Lyness and into the net.
Saints backup Curtis Main headed a corner kick over the crossbar after McGregor made a great save from Alex Greive.