Flo took his tally to four goals in four starts which is exactly the kind of return he was purchased to produce while Bert Konterman got the clinching third goal which ensured three points.

Rangers would have hoped to have been a lot closer to Celtic and that draw at Tannadice is the reason they are not, but 12 points behind with a game in hand is a gap which could be bridged.

They know have four weeks to think about how they are going to do that but perhaps Flo is wishing that the games could continue.

Much has been made of Dick Advocaat’s decision to spend £12million on the giant Norwegianbut he is giving ample proof that he is going to be a major player for Rangers.

Scoring on his debut in the 5-1 mauling of Celtic was, of course, the whirlwind start he dreamed of but hamstring damage in his third appearance against Motherwell made it a frustrating beginning for Flo.

The Norwegian star came off the bench to score against St Johnstone on Boxing Day and with just 13 minutes gone he inflicted the same treatment on the Paisley Saints to give Rangers just the start they wanted.

Just like his two previous strikes, Flo could not have been much more than three yards out when he tucked the ball into the net – but Advocaat could not care less.

It was Claudio Reyna who orginated the move with a great pass inside Scott Walker for Fernando Ricksen, who won a corner on the right side.

Neil McCann whipped the ball over and Flo was there to meet it, flicking a header which glanced off the inside of the right hand post and nestled in the left corner.

Immediately, the decision to restore the former Chelsea star to the starting line-up at the expense of Michael Mols was entirely justified but there was to more to Flo’s game than that and more goal action too.

Saints found it hard to cope with Norwegian star and he nearly scored with a carbon copy in 25 minutes but this time his effort flew wide of the target.

That said, Rangers had not really hammered home their early advantage and Saints fought hard to get back in the game. Their endeavour was rewarded in 36 minutes when they won a penalty kick.

It may be a New Year but the fortunes of Ricksen are not changing. He was reckless with his challenge on Graham Fenton in the box, catching the former Blackburn star on the head with his boot.

There were few protests and Ricky Gillies made a very assured job of the spotkick, tucking it in the right corner beyond the reach of Stefan Klos who had guessed the right way.

It was a setback, but when you have a player of the quality of Flo in your side there is every reason to feel confident that you will resume control of the game. And so it proved.

Lorenzo Amoruso, perhaps playing his last game for Rangers if West Ham have their way, came close with two long range efforts which tested the ability of Ludovic Roy but then Flo restored Rangers’ lead a minute before half-time.

It was a goal of supreme quality. Kenny Miller moved the ball wide, Reyna drove it across the face of the box and Flo cheekily found the net with his right heel. It was the strike of a predator and the Rangers fans roared their appreciation.

Three minutes into the second half and Miller came desperately close to putting the game out of sight. Ronald de Boer’s corner fell for him at the edge of the box but his right foot strike smacked off the top of the crossbar.

Having scored five the last the teams met, Miller was justified in feeling he might get on the scoresheet again but not on this occasion.

Flo threatened again with a chip shot in 50 minutes which Roy plucked out of the air and then a left foot drive in 54 minutes which flew just wide.

However, it was left to Bert Konterman to make sure of the win which means Rangers go into the winter break 12 points behind Celtic having played a game more.

It was a simple goal and from St Mirren’s point of view it was a complete disaster. De Boer’s corner in the 60th minute was allowed to travel all the way to the centre of the six-yard box and Konterman gleefully helped the ball into the net with a flick of his head.

It was a procession from there on with Reyna and substitute Jorg Albertz forcing good saves from Roy and Flo inches away from connecting with McCann’s cross for a hat-trick.

However, 3-1 was the way it finished. It was not the greatest performance but the win was achieved and that was the main target.

St Mirren (3-4-3): Roy; Baltacha, Turner, Walker; Nicholson (MacKenzie 75), Murray, Gillies, Kerr; Brown (McGarry 10), Fenton, Renfurm (Yardley 67). Subs – Scrimgour, Bowman.

Bookings: Nicholson (22)

Rangers (4-4-2: Klos; Ricksen (Ross 85), Konterman, Amoruso, Numan; Reyna, Ferguson, de Boer (Albertz 65), McCann; Flo, Miller. Subs – Christiansen, Mols, Albertz, Wilson, Ross.

Ref: Douglas MacDonald. 

Att: 8,142

Moment of the match: Tore Andre’s cute back heel to claim his second goal

Man of the match: Tore Andre Flo

Article Copyright © 2020. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.rangers.co.uk