Collum continues to confound Gerrard
STEVEN Gerrard was in mid-flow when footage of Daniel Candeias’s second booking flashed up on the television inside the St Mirren press room.
The Rangers manager was not impressed with what he saw.
Candeias had been the hero. His fortuitous goal set up a win that didn’t look like it was coming during the first 80 minutes of this Paisley encounter. The winger was, however, booked for over-celebrating his strike and, when Alfredo Morelos doubled the Ibrox side’s lead 10 minutes later, the Portuguese was blowing kisses to the St Mirren supporters when Craig Samson, goalkeeper of the home side, put an arm around him to ask him to stop, which he did, and he even seemed to agree that he had been a bit over the top.
Nothing to see here.
Cue St Mirren defender Anton Ferdinand, who then approached Candeias. He also put an arm around him but then gave him a bit of a sly jab with his fist.
The Rangers man didn’t even have time to react before referee Willie Collum showed him a second yellow card.
A frustrated Gerrard responded: “So Daniel gets a yellow card for that! Come on, lads. Be serious. What does he get a yellow card for? The second yellow card is embarrassing.
“It’s embarrassing. There is your evidence. That’s what you’re dealing with.”
He was right. It was a ridiculous decision. And the nature of the booking means Rangers can’t appeal. Collum really has to do better. It was a nothing moment and if anyone was the instigator it was Ferdinand.
Rangers had huffed and puffed for most of an afternoon that hardly required any more wind and had the conditions to thanks for them squeezing past a St Mirren side that deserved better.
There was just over 10 minutes to go of an equal contest when the ball left Candeias’s right foot, moved direction in the air and dipped over despairing St Mirren goalkeeper Samson’s hand.
Whether it was a shot or a cross, the Rangers substitute had a gust of wind to thank.
Such a late setback killed off St Mirren’s spirit and their seventh Premiership defeat in a row was sealed in injury time when Morelos blasted the ball past Samson from a tight angle.
Gerrard said: “According to Daniel, he meant it. I’ve been in the game a long time and haven’t seen anyone score one of those, not on purpose anyway.
“We know these teams will hang in. They’ve got a lot to play for and are going to fight and be difficult to break down. So, for us, it was about patience. The pleasing thing for me is we didn’t get frustrated with the break not coming, especially in the first 60-odd minutes.
“The lads kept plugging away, kept creating chances and, ironically, it came with a little bit of luck, but I believe you make your own luck in this game. We finished the game off and I’m really pleased with the three points.”
The wind and a lacklustre Rangers aided St Mirren in the first half. Allan McGregor has been his side’s best player this season, arguably the best performer in the country so far, and he made two saves which for him have become routine when they were anything but.
Five minutes had gone when Morelos foolishly and needlessly clipped the heels of St Mirren captain Stephen McGinn in an area in which any team would fancy a free-kick. Ian McShane had everyone thinking he was going to cross and instead he crisply sent a curling shot heading to the top corner only for the pesky McGregor to get his hand up to make a save.
The Rangers goalie was at it again on 13 minutes. Danny Mullen’s cross from the right picked out Ryan Edwards at the back post, and at the second attempt the Australian got off a shot on the turn, and McGregor got a hand to the ball. There was always the feeling St Mirren needed to score in the first half when conditions favoured them and they were the better team.
Rangers vastly improved after the break.
Connor Goldson managed to glance a header from a corner wide when unmarked and two yards from goal. There was a crazy 30 seconds which saw Scott Arfield, Candeias and Ovie Ejaria all have efforts cleared off the line in quick succession, as Sammon and Ferdinand somehow managed to keep the ball out between them.
St Mirren gave everything and more but they missed captain McGinn, the best player on show, when injury forced the midfielder off. They were unable to hold on but manager Oran Kearney s aw positives.
The Northern Irishman said: “We’re disappointed to lose the game. The first goal is very important and if it’s a shot and he meant it then I’ll doff my cap, but if it’s a cross then that’s a disappointing one.
“The first goal into the last part of the game was always going to have a huge effect.
“Stephen is our captain and a main player so him going off was always going to have an impact.
“His performance was strong today and he led the way as you would expect. We had to replace him with a young player and, no offence to Cammy Smith, but in the late stages of the game you would have liked Stephen to have still been on the pitch.”