Substitute Harry Forrester’s late strike gave Rangers a 1-0 win over St Mirren and stretched their lead to 11 points at the top of the Championship.
Light Blues striker Kenny Miller missed a sitter from three yards out in a stodgy, goalless first half and the home side huffed and puffed after the break.
However, with four minutes remaining Forrester - on for Jason Holt - curled a shot past Buddies goalkeeper Jamie Langfield to clinch the win.
With second-placed Hibernian losing at Dumbarton, the Govan side look in a commanding position in the title race. But it was not the greatest performance by Mark Warburton’s men.
Miller, 36, back in the starting line-up along with midfielder Nicky Law, had Rangers’ first real effort on goal in the ninth minute when he curled a shot from the edge of the box just past the post after good set-up play by Michael O’Halloran.
Six minutes later a Gers shout for a penalty when O’Halloran was challenged in the penalty area by former Rangers defender Andy Webster was ignored by referee John McKendrick, probably correctly.
After the early energy, the tempo of the game dropped.
The Buddies’ organisation and assuredness was providing a problem for the home side, who were laborious in their attempts to get the breakthrough.
However, the Light Blues should have taken the lead in the 36th minute after another penetrating run from O’Halloran, but when his ball came across to the on-rushing Miller he blasted over from three yards.
As the Govan men stepped up the pressure towards the interval, Miller set up O’Halloran but his side-footed effort from 12 yards escaped the far post.
Another penalty claim when Saints skipper Webster stopped Miller in his tracks four minutes into the second half was again ignored by McKendrick before St Mirren goalkeeper Langfield blocked an O’Halloran shot with his legs moments later.
The Ibrox side stepped up the pressure but faced a red-shirted wall of St Mirren defenders who dropped deeper while remaining organised and resolute.
Warburton reshuffled his side on the hour mark with Dean Shiels and Billy King replacing Law and wide-man Barrie McKay.
In the 67th minute, after St Mirren midfielder Stevie Mallan had clattered King 25 yards from goal, James Tavernier’s free-kick was heading for the top corner before Langfield pushed it round the post for a corner, which was again defended.
Forrester replaced Holt three minutes later before Miller slashed a volley over the bar from 16 yards to more groans from the home support.
In the final, frantic stages, Langfield saved another free-kick from Tavernier which was sneaking in at the far post but in the 86th minute Forrester, signed from Doncaster in the last transfer window, became the hero.
He produced a fine strike from inside the box to give the home side all three points, but not before Gers keeper Wes Foderingham had dealt with a Mallan free-kick in stoppage time.