Steven Gerrard has warned his Rangers players to improve their discipline after seeing his team reduced to 10 men for the second consecutive week in the Scottish Premiership.
Ross McCrorie was shown a straight red card for a foul on St Mirren striker Nicolai Brock-Madsen in the 31st minute at Ibrox. Rangers were already 2-0 up at the time and preserved that scoreline for the rest of the match.
Unlike seven days earlier, when Gerrard railed against the early dismissal of striker Alfredo Morelos against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, he had no issues with referee Don Robertson’s decision.
“It was completely different to last week when we felt hard done by, said our piece and got justice in terms of the decision being overturned (on appeal),” said Gerrard.
“I thought the officials were really, really good today. They got the decision spot on and we’ve got no complaints.
“I’ve spoken to the team and praised them for the result and clean sheet. But I’ve also spoken about discipline and composure out there.
“It’s difficult enough with 11 men. We are picking up too many red and yellow cards for my liking. But we’ll learn, grow and keep going.
“I’m very happy with the result and performance in the circumstances. Again, we’ve gone down to 10 men. The response from my team, every single one of them rolled their sleeves up and did what they had to do.
“I was pleased with the clean sheet in the circumstances. It’s a positive result for us. I would have liked to keep 11 on the pitch and maybe win the game more emphatically but at the end of the day it’s all about three points.”
Gerrard’s attention now turns to Thursday night when Rangers take a 3-1 lead into the second leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Maribor in Slovenia.
He faces an anxious wait while the fitness of key midfielders Lassana Coulibaly and Ryan Jack is assessed. Coulibaly limped off in stoppage time yesterday, while Jack is still recovering from the head injury he sustained against Aberdeen last week.
“Coulibaly is hopefully just a fatigue injury,” said Gerrard. “We’ll have to check him out over the next couple of days but we have our fingers crossed it’s not too serious.
“Ryan is progressing well. I’m more confident of him being available now than I was a couple of days after Aberdeen. But he still has to come into a full training session.
“The good thing for me today was realising that if we’re on the back of a European night when we’ve put a hell of a shift in, then I can make some changes subtly to the starting eleven. I can trust the players who come in.
“If we carry on this run in Europe, I’m going to need that. I’ll need the whole 23 or 24 players to be ready if they are called upon.”
St Mirren manager Alan Stubbs was left to rue the manner in which his side went 2-0 down so early in the match, leaving them unable to take advantage of Rangers being reduced to 10 men.
“It is tough enough as it is when you come to Ibrox and try to get a result but we’ve gifted Rangers two goals,” said Stubbs. “There were two lapses in concentration and that has cost us. The sending-off also changes the game but we didn’t capitalise on that. When you come to the big grounds you sometimes need a little bit of a rub of the green and we just didn’t get that.
“It would be interesting to see what would have happened had we scored a goal, in terms of how the atmosphere might have changed. But we probably didn’t do enough.”