RANGERS returned to winning ways this afternoon with a deserved victory over Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium.
Ryan Kent grabbed the only goal of the game with 13 minutes left to send Gers forth to Thursday’s massive Europa League clash with Bayer Leverkusen in good spirits.
From the side which faced Hamilton in midweek, boss Steven Gerrard named two changes. Out went the injured James Tavernier to be replaced by Matt Polster, while Ryan Kent came in for Flo Kamberi.
It was Gers who began the game the brighter, and County ‘keeper Ross Laidlaw was called into action inside two minutes, beating away a Glen Kamara drive from the edge of the area as a Ianis Hagi corner dropped to the Finn’s feet.
Borna Barisic then provided an excellent delivery that just needed a touch to be diverted beyond Laidlaw before the goalkeeper came out on top in an almighty goalmouth scramble.
Steven Davis played a stunning ball over the Staggies’ defence to put Ryan Kent away down the left, and after cutting into the area, his shot was beaten away by the goalkeeper, but only as far as the incoming Kamara.
He did extremely well to get the ball under any control at all as bodies flew everywhere before he managed to lay it to his right for Alfredo Morelos, but by the time he got his shot away, Laidlaw was across to the other side of his goal to deny the Colombian from close range.
Morelos, under pressure from Liam Fontaine, then did superbly to get his head to another Barisic cross, but he could only send his effort wide.
As half-time approached, Gers had a shout for a penalty turned-down when a Polster cross was claimed to have hit the arm of Fontaine as the County defender turned the ball out for a corner.
Davis then had a 25-yard effort go straight at Laidlaw when Polster did well to chest the ball down into his path, but goalless is how it remained at the break.
Gers began the second half on the front-foot again, but it was County who had the first opportunity – Allan McGregor saving superbly at close-range from Billy McKay after Don Cowie set him up.
Barisic then had a free-kick charged down by the wall, but the rebound fell for Ianis Hagi to get a decent strike away, but Laidlaw was there to save again.
McGregor then tipped-over from Josh Mullin, while sub Flo Kamberi had a close-range effort deflected behind when Kent picked him out.
Joe Aribo was then so unlucky to see a header from the resulting corner cleared off the line by Iain Vigurs, while soon after, George Edmundson had a header on a Davis cross turned over.
The goal certainly looked to be coming, and it duly arrived on 77 minutes thanks to Ryan Kent.
Kamberi spread the play wide to the right for the attacker, and after taking the ball well, he cut away from Mullin and Richard Foster before striking for goal and getting the bit of luck Gers have been looking for with his effort coming off Foster before nestling in the far bottom corner.
It was the very least Gers deserved given their dominance in the match, and they could have gone on to kill the game in injury time as Kamberi rounded Laidlaw and opted to square for fellow sub Jordan Jones – though his final effort was deflected wide.
Borna Barisic then had a free-kick from inside the ‘D’ go just over with the final kick of the ball – and 1-0 to Rangers is how it finished here in Dingwall.
RANGERS: McGregor; Polster, Goldson, Edmundson, Barisic; Davis, Kamara (Jones, 76), Aribo; Hagi (Kamberi, 62), Kent, Morelos (Katic, 89).
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Halliday, Patterson, Kennedy.
ROSS COUNTY: Laidlaw, Fraser, Fontaine, Morris, McKay, Vigurs (Spence, 84), Mullin, Foster, Tillson (Erwin, 87), Cowie (Spittal, 82) Stewart.
SUBS NOT USED: Baxter, Kelly, Watson, Shaw.
REFEREE: Andrew Dallas
ATTENDANCE: 6400 (inc 2203 away).